Dude, did you take a picture of yourself fucking a pizza?

5 Apr

I’m a half-assed vegan. That means I edit the list of things I will and won’t eat at will, and that I do so frequently. But, because I sometimes stick to the rules, I’ve got a few vegan cookbooks. One of those cookbooks is Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She apparently has or had some local access show in New York called the Post Punk Kitchen (What does that even mean? Does she imbue her dishes with the spirit of Sonic Youth and The Jesus Lizard or something?), and she’s got a related website. One day I happened upon a section of the website’s forums called “Food Porn XXX.” Say what? I seriously thought for a second that I might find images therein of people committing lewd acts with seitan (Satan!). I know, I’m a dork. What it really is is a collection of photos people have taken of edible items they’ve cooked, usually based loosely on Moskowitz’s recipes. 

Then, a few years later, I came across some link on some stupid website (I’m sure it was something owned by Gawker) that was categorized as “hotel porn.” Apparently people are creaming their shorts over images of $950-a-night hotel rooms. That shit was weird enough, but what really blows my mind is “puppy porn.” You know, photos of puppies for people who really like to squeal over cute shit. I’ll admit that I don’t give a shit about puppies, but it struck me as odd for several other reasons as well. First, why are we using the word “porn” to refer to images that have nothing to do with depictions of sex (whoops, I mean prostitution)? And second, as “pornography” is basically synonymous with “obscenity,” does it really make sense to use the term to refer to pictures of lentil loaf and baby dachshunds? Third, doesn’t using the term “porn” in connection with innocuous, fairly wholesome things like vegan snacks and pets (puppy mills notwithstanding) lessen its impact and help normalize the consumption of real pornography in mainstream daily life? Actually, I think the fact that we’re using the word “porn” in so many contexts means the work of normalizing porn culture has already been done, that the acceptance of rampant porn use as a matter of course is already taken for granted.

Well, let me remind you why pictures of food, puppies, hotels, etc. do not qualify as porn. The word “pornography,” as Laurelin recently pointed out, has a very specific meaning:

 

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.

 

When we look at “puppy porn,” we are not looking at the graphic representation of a cultural hatred of puppies. When we look at “food porn,” we aren’t seeing burritos degraded, we aren’t absorbing the message that dumplings are filthy sluts that deserve to have their heads shoved into toilets and their faces ejaculated on. No one is attempting to assert their power over fancy hotel rooms by making hotel rooms suck a dick that’s already been in the hotel room’s ass, all while calling the hotel room a whore and slapping it around. And no beagle, quiche, or deluxe suite has had to pretend it enjoys undergoing serious abuse in order to excite a lascivious audience of “porn” lovers. 

I don’t mean to be gross, but I think people need reminding about what actually goes on in porn, and I think people need reminding that we ought to reserve the use of that word for describing real, actual pornography. I have a step-daughter. She likes pictures of puppies. I don’t want to hear that her desire to look at a photo of a baby dog is somehow equivalent to some piece of shit’s hankering after images of women allowing themselves to be fucked by grown-up dogs. And Moskowitz ought to be ashamed of herself. She claims to be an anarcha-feminist. Can someone tell me how photos of vegan cupcakes equate with images of women’s sexual and economic exploitation? Words matter and shit.

(Oh, and talking about “food porn” and “puppy porn” makes you sound like a fucking dork.)

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122 Responses to “Dude, did you take a picture of yourself fucking a pizza?”

  1. VictoriaT April 5, 2009 at 1:49 AM #

    It is interesting to know the root of the word “porn,” however, language and meanings evolve. If most of us don’t think it means misogyny anymore, then it doesn’t. You’re playing word games.

    • Nine Deuce April 5, 2009 at 1:51 AM #

      Most of us don’t think it means misogyny because our culture is saturated with it and because people have come to accept that. Pornography is pornography, and the fact that the word is used to refer to sexually explicit material that is misogynistic means that it is dangerous to apply it to the things I’ve discussed here. It normalizes misogyny. Do you think that porn is not misogynistic? If so, you’re on the wrong blog (and you need to open your eyes).

      • J April 5, 2009 at 2:05 AM #

        Damn Straight.

      • RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 3:14 PM #

        Actually, it refers to sexually explicte material. Not all pornography is misogynistic. Is there misogynistic porn? Absolutely. But is there porn that is not? Absolutely.

        • buggle April 6, 2009 at 4:32 PM #

          Prove it.

        • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 4:46 PM #

          What Buggle said. I wanna see some non-misogynistic porn. It’s a chimera.

          • RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 6:08 PM #

            I suggest “the Bi- Apple”.

            Will you & Buggle watch it with a non-baised eye? I doubt it. So, if you are unwilling to do so, don’t ask others to prove things.

            If you cannot possibly believe there is porn that is misogynistic, then you are starting from a biased place. That, however, does not make you right.

            • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 6:13 PM #

              If by “unbiased” you mean “uncritical,” then I’d fail. I’m not sure whether I believe that non-misogynistic porn can exist, but I know I’ve yet to see any.

            • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 6:19 PM #

              Also, it’s not my job to prove that feminist porn exists, it’s the job of those who claim it does. (By the way – the Bi-Apple loses – depictions of men ejaculating on women? It doesn’t even pass as not anti-feminist, much less as feminist.)

              • RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 6:34 PM #

                ND:

                Uncritical is not the same thing.

                And once again, you are going off a premise of what you would not like as being a universal. There are women out there who do not mind/even like being ejaculated on. Is it feminist? No. But sexual acts in and of themself do not really have a lot of politic. People add the politic.

                AND, mind you, you’ve not watched the MOVIE. Actual movie critics cannot and do not render an end all beat all opinion on a film without seeing it.

                So, lets say two random lesbians make a home movie of them having sex- no strap on, just, well, enjoying themselves- and put it up on a non-paid porn site…would that count? Because there are a ton of sites out there- regular people having regular sex- just like that.

                Just because you have not seen something does not mean it does not exist. And you seem all to willing to pass out “fails” without even looking. A blind person cannot see things, doesn’t mean they are not there. You have your concrete opinion, and seem utterly unwilling to even consider the possibility that maybe, well, you could be wrong.

                • RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 6:41 PM #

                  That I’ll be placing bets on.

                  But what, just for the fun of it, is your criteria for feminist porn?

                  • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 6:43 PM #

                    The point wasn’t for me to tell everyone what is and is not feminist porn. I’m not sure it exists, and I know I’ve never seen it. The challenge was for people who claim it exists to provide examples and explain why the examples are feminist. I’ve gotten plenty of people sending me links, but no explanations. I’m waiting for those.

                    • RenegadeEvolution April 6, 2009 at 6:47 PM #

                      I’ve seen films by Candida Royalle which I think would count, here’s why-

                      Woman made. Feature women with varied body types and of varied age. Focus almost exclusively on female pleasure- with women recieving oral sex, clitoral stimulation. Often times, the males in the films (if there are males in the films) do not receive oral sex, may not even be erect, and are there, just performing pleasing acts on the women, and since there is no PiV sex, obviously, no cum shot on the woman at all.

                      I have also seen what one would call “instructional porn”, done by everyone from Annie Sprinkle to Nina Hartely, which discusses things like better masturbation techniques, so on…basically how-to maximize your pleasure porn for women.

                  • Valerie April 8, 2009 at 5:00 PM #

                    Renegade, I do not read your blog for reasons which are actually only tangentially related to our differing beliefs about feminist porn. We can talk about it via email if you want.

                    However, I have been informed that you responded to my call on your blog. Could you please forward that post to me so that I can actually respond?

                    Thanks,
                    Val

                • Nanella April 8, 2009 at 7:20 PM #

                  “There are women out there who do not mind/even like being ejaculated on.”

                  Seriously? I’ve yet to meet a woman who genuinely enjoys it of her own volition, and in my semi-wild past I’ve had many graphic sexual discussions with so-called sexually liberated women. What I’ve mainly heard are half-assed rationalizations for why women “enjoy being ejaculated on”, ranging from “I had to *let* myself *learn* to like it, and then I really liked it” to “it makes me feel like a dirty little slut” (which is supposed to be a good thing, apparently). Any woman who’s being honest with herself will have to admit that it’s sticky, goopy, messy pain in the arse to clean up, and there’s absolutely nothing inherently sexy about the act. It’s something people who watch misogyny-laden porn have been conditioned to equate with sexuality, and since orgasm is one of the most powerful conditioning tools available to humanity, anything you learn to associate with orgasm is going to eventually turn you on. If porn didn’t exist (pardon, misogynistic porn — but I repeat myself), no woman would ever dream up such an act and request it during sexy time. Porn invented the act and women talked themselves into “liking” it because they knew their favorite misogynists (read: SOs) were turned on by it. Women are pros at talking themselves into sacrificing dignity for patriarchy cookies.

                  Incidentally, even the porn producers don’t deny that ejaculating onto women is a misogynistic act. It’s all about the domination/subjugation, baby.

                  • Nine Deuce April 8, 2009 at 7:26 PM #

                    I agree.

                    • Nanella April 8, 2009 at 8:47 PM #

                      Can you tell that I’m one of those women who once-upon-a-time talked herself into liking the act of being ejaculated on? ;-) Back in my “sexually liberated” porn addiction days I knew more than a few guys who would practically orgasm on the spot if you dirty talked about wanting their spunk on your body (somehow I always knew there was something wrong with facials, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it). Talk about positive reinforcement! It’s a really fascinating process of conditioning, if you think about it. Pavlov had nothing on porn. The dudes talk about their love of (insert misogynistic sex act here), women, desiring men’s approval and sexual attention, and being constantly subjected to the message that the way to impress a dude is to emulate porn stars, talk themselves into conforming to misogynistic porn ideals, men heap praise on women for conforming to said ideals, women feel sexy and “empowered” by that praise and encouragement, women learn to associate that heady sensation of garnering male approval and sexual attention with arousal, women learn to get turned on by misogynistic sex acts.

                      That praise and encouragement is some kind of addicting drug, isn’t it? When I finally got candid with myself, I had to acknowledge that ejaculating onto the body isn’t the real turn-on — it was the dude’s reaction. I also had to acknowledge that, yeeeaaaah, there is an element of domination innate to that particular act, but if you’d asked me earlier I would’ve found a hundred and one justifications for it and would’ve argued until I was blue in the face that it isn’t a misogynistic act. Because cognitive dissonance is a righteous mind fuck.

                      It’s funny because dudes are always talking about how much power women have over them (we only have to wave our vaginas at them and they’re mesmerized!), and *yet*…I’ve yet to meet a guy who will perform a sex act he isn’t crazy about. Ask a dude to swallow his cum because it turns you on and watch him blanche in horror before he starts sputtering a million and one reasons why it isn’t a dudely thing to do. Guys (most of them, anyway) just won’t go there. They won’t do anything they don’t want to do and women aren’t allowed to question that reluctance. Women, on the other hand, aren’t allowed to have sexual boundaries. Their primary role in a relationship is that of personal prostitute. And if you should have the gall to express a little self-respect and declare that you have a right to sexual sovereignty and don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, the dude gets a major case of the sulks. Then he gets psychologically manipulative. Because he’s *entitled* to have sex the way he wants it. You are, after all, his property, his servant, and not a fully fledged human being with a right to your own opinions and desires.

                      Sorry, I know there are non-dudely guys out there who really do respect their lovers and can’t bear the thought of their partner feeling pressured to perform any sex act, and I thank the universe for them. I only wish there were more of them…experience has taught me that they are extraordinarily rare gems.

                  • RenegadeEvolution April 9, 2009 at 3:39 AM #

                    you’re every woman, its all in you!

                    I happen to dig bodily fluids in general. All of ‘em.

                    • Laurelin April 9, 2009 at 11:23 AM #

                      “The dudes talk about their love of (insert misogynistic sex act here), women, desiring men’s approval and sexual attention, and being constantly subjected to the message that the way to impress a dude is to emulate porn stars, talk themselves into conforming to misogynistic porn ideals, men heap praise on women for conforming to said ideals, women feel sexy and “empowered” by that praise and encouragement, women learn to associate that heady sensation of garnering male approval and sexual attention with arousal, women learn to get turned on by misogynistic sex acts. ”

                      Nail. Hammer. Bang.

                      You’ve just described my experiences exactly, Nanella. And I think many women will also be able to relate to this. I think this merits so much more discussion and consideration in feminism, instead of the supposedly apolitical ‘I like it’/ ‘he likes it’ statements which are intended to silence dissent and prevent further discussion of the politics of degrading sexual practices.

                      Certainly the bland ‘I like it so there’ statements make it harder for women who have been harmed by such acts to speak up, as they then have to add to their pain the fear of offending others. More silence, more fear, more isolation.

                      I think we also need to look at the language men use to describe women in these scenarios- it speaks volumes about how degrading *they* believe these acts are to women – and that’s what they (the men) are getting off on.

                    • Faith April 9, 2009 at 12:22 PM #

                      Laurelin,

                      “Certainly the bland ‘I like it so there’ statements make it harder for women who have been harmed by such acts to speak up, as they then have to add to their pain the fear of offending others. More silence, more fear, more isolation.”

                      I agree that the condescending attitudes that some women have in regard to discussions like this make it extremely difficult for women who have not have the same experiences to speak up. This is part of the problem I have with many in the “sex-positive” crowd. I do believe that it is important for women to discuss what we do or do not like – and what has or has not harmed us – without engaging in the type of behavior that you are referring to. Women need to understand that it’s ok to -not- enjoy engaging in a certain act and we need to know that our negative experiences will be believed and taken into consideration as much as our positive experiences.

                    • Nine Deuce April 9, 2009 at 12:33 PM #

                      I’d even say negative experiences warrant more attention. Protecting people from abuse and mitigating the effects of that abuse ought to take priority, because it gets shunted to the back almost everywhere.

                    • Faith April 9, 2009 at 1:58 PM #

                      “I’d even say negative experiences warrant more attention. Protecting people from abuse and mitigating the effects of that abuse ought to take priority, because it gets shunted to the back almost everywhere.”

                      Agreed.

                    • Laurelin April 9, 2009 at 3:02 PM #

                      They absolutely do. That is why the perception that discussions like this one should be a 50/50 split between ‘yay’ and ‘actually I was harmed by that’ is false. The women who have suffered harm are the ones who need to be listened to- and they are the ones for whom it is hardest to speak. It is so difficult to bring up one’s worst moments in a public arena in which one is liable to be pulled apart, mocked and dismissed. That is what survivors of sexual violence face when they speak up in public, and the ‘I like sexual act X, so there’ crowd don’t seem to get how their dismissive attitudes and absolute assertion of primacy are damaging to survivors who dissent.*

                      And saying ‘oh your voice is important’ and then proceeding to blather on for several paragraphs about your happy experiences and how you love everything is NOT helpful. It’s dismissive and arrogant.

                      *Not suggesting that everyone who says ‘I like Act X’ or who supports porn has not experienced sexual violence.

                    • Nanella April 10, 2009 at 6:24 PM #

                      Ha! Yes, I am the Ur-Woman, how did you know? Really, though, I don’t believe that my experiences are representational of every woman’s. I’ve discussed this subject with a number of women, and what really got to me, what was the proverbial straw, is that in every single amateur porno I’ve seen (and I’ve logged quite a lot of porno-viewing time) in which the women weren’t being paid to fake enthusiasm, do you know, every. Single. Time. The women in question had an expression of mingled disgust/amusment on their faces. They were usually laughing and wincing at the same time, as if…dare I say it…they were trying to find something entertaining about this crazy ass sex act that doesn’t naturally appeal to women (may I qualify that with “most”? There are certainly exceptions to every rule). Eventually I had to make a logical deduction.

                    • Nanella April 10, 2009 at 6:43 PM #

                      Laurelin (I can’t respond directly to your post for some reason), I think you’re really onto something with the “I like it, therefore it’s Ok” as a silencing mechanism. I never looked at it that way before, but it makes perfect sense. I think it also stems from a place of denial…when you’re heavily emotionally/materially invested in *not* seeing reality (which happens often when women are involved in relationships), you can invent all kinds of creative justifications.

                    • Nine Deuce April 10, 2009 at 7:34 PM #

                      I think you’re right. It would do people who consider these acts no big deal to listen to those who do, and to try to understand why they might concern those who have suffered abuse as a result of the normalization of acts that derive from a medium that banks on degradation.

                  • Faith April 9, 2009 at 12:06 PM #

                    “I’ve yet to meet a woman who genuinely enjoys it of her own volition.”

                    (this comment is fairly graphic. anyone who doesn’t want to read fairly graphic descriptions of ejaculation or is afraid that such descriptions might be triggering, please be aware.)

                    Under the “right” circumstances with the “right” man, I enjoy it. I also actually enjoy watching a man masturbate and even having him ejaculate on him. My enjoyment of this has nothing to do with porn. My enjoyment of this has to do with acceptance of ejaculation as a part of the sex act with a man and the enjoyment of watching another person experience pleasure. Whether or not I enjoy it depends on how much I genuinely like the man -and- on why the act is occurring. Ejaculation is a basically a fact if you have sex with a man. There are ways to have sex with a man that do not result in ejaculation, including certain tantric practices. However, if you have sex with a man, chances are he’s going to ejaculate. Unless he’s wearing a condom, that ejaculate must go somewhere. I personally find it -less- messy for a man to ejaculate on me rather than in me. Ejaculate that is on you can be easily wiped away. When a man ejaculates inside you, it’s going to be there for a while.

                    So, if a man ejaculates on me as a matter of course, I have no objections as long as we’ve discussed it first. And if he’s not wearing a condom, we have discussed it first. We’ve likely discussed sex a great deal and discussed what I do or do not enjoy and what I will or will not tolerate. If a man ejaculates on me because he’s trying to dominate me, or claim me, or get his jollies on degrading me, he’s going to be lucky if he doesn’t lose his balls. Chances are, a man who would do such a thing to me would not get anywhere near me sexually at this point in my life in the first place for him to be able to degrade me.

                    • Faith April 9, 2009 at 2:01 PM #

                      “I also actually enjoy watching a man masturbate and even having him ejaculate on him.”

                      Er, while that statement is actually true, as well….that statement should have read “on me”. I really must start proofreading my comments.

                    • Nanella April 10, 2009 at 6:14 PM #

                      How many people do you think were engaging in this act before porn popularized it? Before the mainstreaming of porn, this act was virtually unheard of, so, yes, porn is at least obliquely responsible for your knowledge of this act. Did you conceive of it all by yourself and request it of your lover? The concept has gone mainstream, it’s discussed in various social scenarios nowadays, thanks to porn.

                      “My enjoyment of this has to do with acceptance of ejaculation as a part of the sex act with a man…”

                      Ejaculating onto a woman isn’t a naturally occuring aspect of sex. The only instance in which I can concede that this is the case is when the pull-and-pray method of BC is employed. Decorating a woman with jizz is generally a premeditated act (unless you’re pulling and praying). You know, menstruation has never been an obstacle to sex for me, and I’ve yet to meet a guy who doesn’t “accept” it as a natural part of female anatomical function, but I’ve yet to develop a desire to smear my menstrual blood on a guy’s body, nor have I met a man who has expressed an interest in having it smeared on him. And yet, they, and I, have been perfectly accepting of my body’s natural ability to spew body fluids during sex at certain times throughout the year. I’ve never felt the need to have a guy prove that he accepts my body’s natural functions by dousing himself in my body fluids. Amazing, isn’t it?

                      For that matter, if I were a “squirter”, the last thing that would ever occur to me is to stand over a guy and douse him in my Skene’s gland fluid. The scenario reeks of domination/subjugation to me. Would squirting on a guy turn you on? If so, why?

                      “My enjoyment of this has to do with…the enjoyment of watching another person experience pleasure.”

                      Nothing wrong with vicariously enjoying another’s pleasure, but to uncritically engage in sex acts is fundamentally anti-feminist. The unexamined sex act is not worth doing because we live in a patriarchal culture, patriarchal attitudes infest every sphere of human interaction, including sexual interaction. We should fearlessly put our sex lives under the microscope without disingenously resorting to “but I like it, so it’s Ok” as justification. So here’s an assignment: Quiz your lover about his interest in this act, Ok? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m quite serious. Ask him to articulate his rationale for enjoying the act of ejaculating onto your body. “Because it’s sexy” is not a valid rationale. Ask him to be very explicit in how it makes him feel, what thoughts go through his mind at the time, etc. No leading questions, Ok? Report back.

                      “So, if a man ejaculates on me as a matter of course, I have no objections as long as we’ve discussed it first.”

                      You either like it or you have no objections to it. Which is it?

                      “If a man ejaculates on me because he’s trying to dominate me, or claim me, or get his jollies on degrading me, he’s going to be lucky if he doesn’t lose his balls.”

                      How would you know what the rationale(s) for his jollies is without asking him? It’s possible that you’re projecting what you think is his rationale onto him, when he may have something entirely different in mind. And if you ask him what his rationale is, he may very well say that he thinks it’s sexy because he’s seen in it in porn. This goes back to my argument that orgasm is a powerful conditioning agent. Young men grow up wanking to graphic depictions of misogynistic sex acts, they don’t question the symbolism behind the acts and subsequently become conditioned to associate these acts with arousal, then they crave them in real life. Because decent men have learned to crave misogynistic sex acts does not make the acts any less misogynistic, it makes the participants clueless perpetrators of misogyny. It’s like when a good person innocently cracks a racist/sexist/homophobic joke — their intention was not malicious, but the message inherent in the joke *is* malicious. Misogyny has become so normalized in our culture, most of us can’t recognize the subtler everyday instances. Like ejaculating on people. You really can’t detect the underlying theme of domination/submission? Think of a dog peeing on a tree…marking its territory. This is why you never see a woman hovering over a man, squirting on him in porn — it would be a complete role reversal, putting the guy in the submissive position, which is a turn-off for most guys. Imagine a guy taking it in the face while the woman leers at him…nope, you won’t see that, either. (I did actually see it, once, and it skeeved me out because I don’t like to see people being degraded/humiliated during sex.)

                      I’ll admit that patriarchal culture had me completely bamboozled on this one, too.

                  • Liselotte April 18, 2009 at 1:17 AM #

                    I wasn’t talked into by anyone.
                    By porn, perhaps, but neither because someone else talked me into watching it (I turn off porn I don’t like within minutes) nor because I felt I had to enjoy it.

  2. isme April 5, 2009 at 7:56 AM #

    I’d agree with VictoriaT…to an extent. Yes, pornography had a very specific meaning 2,000 years ago, but its changed a bit since then. Pornography, including as it does such things as hotel rooms, isn’t misogynistic as such.

    In that case we need a seperate term for the other sort of pornography. “Abuse porn”? “Degradation porn”?

    • Nine Deuce April 5, 2009 at 3:22 PM #

      I’d rather we just remember what porn means and find some other word to refer to pictures of puppies.

  3. Aine April 6, 2009 at 12:00 AM #

    Then again, there is also “furnitureporn.com” which is, in fact, pictures of chairs and sofas in “sexual positions” and occasionally, tied up.

  4. bonobobabe April 6, 2009 at 1:17 AM #

    Yes, yes, yes! I am a knitter, and if I see one more reference to yarn porn, I think I’m gonna vomit.

    And if that vegan author claims to be an anarcha-feminist yet seems clueless about porn, well then, she’s got a lot of company there, eh?

    • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 1:21 AM #

      Yeah, I don’t see why it would surprise me at this point, but I am still blown away by the ideological inconsistency involved in being OK with the oppression of women, but not animals.

      • isme April 6, 2009 at 5:09 AM #

        You get animal activist terrorists, ones who aren’t interested in the oppresion of women aren’t that suprising.

      • Argive April 6, 2009 at 6:09 PM #

        It’s much less controversial to oppose animal cruelty than misogyny. Most people agree that you probably shouldn’t mistreat cute little puppies. On the other hand, speaking out about mistreatment of women brings up a lot of societal issues most people would rather ignore or maintain.

        • Liselotte April 18, 2009 at 1:34 AM #

          Cause if we’re talking about animal cruelty, we’re usually talking about great bodily harm. I’ve never heard someone say “We need equal dog/ human ratios in (insert anything human dominated)”. Non – human animals get tortured in laboratories!

          While human women sometimes get tortured or killed as well, no society has ever tolerated that. If we’re talking about abused women, we usually mean emotional abuse, discrimination, sexual harrassment, … because while murders and torture occasionally occur, I’ve yet to see a society accepting them. Well, of course it’s somehow society’s fault, but not in a way that any society glorificates murder, rape or torture.

          Non – human animals ARE tortured and killed every day in great numbers completely LEGALLY and no one really cares or stops it. They die e.g. in laboratories under most cruel circustumances, and if some sicko tortures them to death out of the legal opportunities it’s treated as a boy’s prank.

          You can’t compare that.

          • Evo April 18, 2009 at 3:44 PM #

            “While human women sometimes get tortured or killed as well, no society has ever tolerated that.”

            You want to rethink that?

            • Liselotte April 18, 2009 at 11:42 PM #

              Well, okay.
              But if you’re looking at contemptary feminist issues, you’re normally not talking about the masses of killed females, but rather about discrimination in school and workplace, childraising, motherhood, sexual harrassment, porn or gender roles. Those are the problems no animal rights activist has to worry about.

              Also: even in the very most patriarchal societies, there’s an “ideal woman”. E.g. “only” those not conforming to those ideals are getting “disposed of” or “punished” or “honour restored” in order to “set an example”. But the idea behind that is that women are a fundamentally different kind of human, and not that women themselves should be eleminated.
              There, however, is no “ideal laboratory animal” which is forced into obeying some strict roles. They all are tortured and killed. There also is no ideal “mass slaughter animal” (sorry, I don’t know the correct English term for that as I’m not English, I’m talking about the kind of intensive farming in which animals don’t see no sunlight, are housed in masses and are fed antibiotics) and while I’m no vegetarian and don’t object to them getting killed (nature IS cruel) I do object to them having no life, no sunshine etc., and you can’t say women are treated like that.

              • Laurelin April 19, 2009 at 12:00 AM #

                Lisolette- I suggest you read up on contemporary feminism to find out what it is about.

                • Nine Deuce April 19, 2009 at 12:00 AM #

                  Yeah, I second that. In fact, maybe you ought to do that before you write any more of these insane comments.

                  • Liselotte April 19, 2009 at 12:28 AM #

                    They aren’t insane.
                    In our culture, murder and torture of humans are frowned upon.

                    I know what feminism’s about, and so about it’s issues.
                    And no, neither are any current problems about females being systematically decimated, nor about females likely to die out, nor about females tortured in laboratories because they’re not considered worthy of any mercy.

                    Females fight hard to get equal treatment.
                    Animal lobbies fight hard to get animals the littlest dignity before they get killed.

                    It’s like comparing black slavery to the holocaust.

                    • Laurelin April 19, 2009 at 2:02 AM #

                      You clearly don’t know what feminism is about, because if you did you’d know that the decimation of women is a concern of the feminist movement, and has been for some time. I suggest you look up works on gynocide. Andrea Dworkin and Diana Russell are good examples. Also, Catharine Mackinnon has written on rape/death camps in the Balkans.

                      Seriously, if animal rights is your major concern, why don’t you go and comment on an animal rights blog? If feminism isn’t important then why are you here?

                    • Liselotte April 19, 2009 at 5:06 AM #

                      Who said it’s my major concern?
                      Someone started talking about it. I’m not here for it, I just couldn’t resist adding my opinion.

                      And yes, it is a difference. We’re not living in the Balkans. Discrimination is quite frequent here, but gynocides aren’t.
                      Animal cruelty, however, has to this day not stopped even in our “civilised” industrial nations.

                    • rmott62 April 19, 2009 at 6:44 AM #

                      I feel quite strongly that there is a male hatred to women that does allow the murders of women and girls to be on a massive scale.

                      There is a constant murders of girl-children by their own fathers or male care-takers.
                      There is the killings of girls in order to have boy children.
                      There are wives murdered by their husbands.
                      There are prostituted women and girls murdered every day unreported.
                      There are girls and women murdered after sexual violence.

                      That is just the tip of the iceberg.
                      For me, there is a constant war against women and girls by men who choose to gain power by hate and contempt.

                      But, as the same men that create the violence also create how we talk about our lives – their violence is made invisible – or if seen made to be the woman’s or girl’s fault.

                    • Liselotte April 19, 2009 at 12:58 PM #

                      Neither is it socially accepted (you hear everything from “He mus be very sick if he does such terrible things” to “the motherfucker should be castrated and then raped to death”, but nothing like “what he did ain’t that bad” or “she probably deserved it) nor is it legal under any circustumances.

                    • Nine Deuce April 19, 2009 at 3:17 PM #

                      Liselotte, you are speaking to people who have been abused by men who were never punished or censured at all. I think you might want to keep that in mind, and remember that there is an entire class of women in this world that are paid to allow men to hurt them. Your ignorance of this issue is an embarrassment to you.

                    • rmott62 April 19, 2009 at 2:53 PM #

                      I think you quite naive to think that male violence is condemned by society.

                      It is very common that women and girls are blamed for the violence done.
                      Men are constantly let off the hook for sexual violence, by portraying the women or girl as someone who provoke his actions.

                      Prostituted women and girls are always blamed for their own murders, and all other forms of sexual violence done to them is made to be invisible.
                      But then we live in a society that make the choice to decide that prostituted women and girls are non-humans

                      Many women who are battered by their partners are shown as to be blame for his violence.
                      Even when a woman is murdered in a “domestic”, all energy is spent on making excuses for his actions.

                      No-one denies their terrible tortures done on animals every day.

                      But to make the claim that violence against women is taken seriously, and that there is not a blind eye to male hatred and contempt of women is unacceptable.

                      If it so great how come round 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused in the home.
                      How come one to two women a week are murdered in domestic violence.
                      How come prostitution has such a high amount of murders and so much sexual torture.

                      All these things happen all the time everywhere, and society make the choice to condone it.

                    • Laurelin April 19, 2009 at 3:07 PM #

                      Yes Liselotte, and you also hear ‘well she asked for it’, ‘she was a hooker’, you hear denial, excuses, rationalisation and refusal to believe women’s stories. You hear hatred. You hear ‘no, he’d never do that’.
                      Your attitude is appalling, and the way you are refusing to believe the reality of women’s lives is revolting.

                      I find the way you just spoke to rmott quite repugnant. I suggest, once again, that you, for your own good, start reading up on male violence against women, or go to a blog that deals with what you are interested in. There are plenty of ways for you to educate yourself, but right now you are being horribly dismissive and hurtful, and making it that much more difficult for women on this thread.

                    • isme April 19, 2009 at 4:26 PM #

                      “In our culture, murder and torture of humans are frowned upon.”

                      In our culture, and every other that has existed, yes. That is completely true.

                      However, that is because the words refer only to unjust acts (more so murder than torture)…if you’re allowed to kill someone, it’s not murder. A prostitute is obviously a Bad Person, so killing her isn’t really murder.

                      Likewise, yes, violence against women is generally condemned by society. In that, if you were to ask, most people would say that they were against it. Which, while it is nicer than them saying they are in favour of it, doesn’t actually mean anything.

              • keygirlus October 18, 2013 at 3:32 PM #

                Actually, we are talking about masses of women being tortured and killed. Google India/China sex selection or anything similar, some horrifying articles about millions(yes, that many) females birth to 15 being killed by thier own familes. So yeah, that is what we are talking about.

      • rara avis May 6, 2009 at 4:47 AM #

        In my experience, many animal activists (and, in a lot of cases, people in general) view ‘humans’ as being different from ‘animals’. Because they are two different categories, they have no problem applying different standards to each, and it would never occur to them that there was any inconsistency in their thinking.

        Just take a look at PETA ads. They use sex (meaning women) to sell as much as any fashion or car or anything else company. I recently read an article about this somewhere, I wish I could remember where. PETA makes me angry for so many reasons.

        • keygirlus October 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM #

          Cut up women, women in cages, yeah, PETA ads are awful.

    • Valerie April 6, 2009 at 4:24 AM #

      Bonobobabe beat me to it. The world is full of halfwits claiming “anarchafeminism” and one of them actually wrote XXX: A Woman’s Right to Pornography.

  5. octogalore April 6, 2009 at 3:51 PM #

    “as ‘pornography’ is basically synonymous with ‘obscenity'”

    It actually isn’t. Based on the Supreme Court’s Miller standard, obscenity is the subset of pornography which is prurient, patently offensive, and lacking in significant scientific, literary, artistic, or political (“SLAP”) value.

    Therefore, all obscenity is pornography, but not all pornography is obscenity. Some pornography, based on the legal definition, does have SLAP value.

    • Faith April 6, 2009 at 4:59 PM #

      “It actually isn’t. Based on the Supreme Court’s Miller standard, obscenity is the subset of pornography which is prurient, patently offensive, and lacking in significant scientific, literary, artistic, or political (”SLAP”) value.”

      Just because the supreme court says something isn’t synonymous with obscenity, doesn’t mean it isn’t.

      • octogalore April 6, 2009 at 7:26 PM #

        Faith, this should help clarify the distinction between pornography and obscentiy and why it’s a distinction with a difference:

        http://www.spectacle.org/1195/strossen.html

        • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 7:34 PM #

          There is a difference between the legal and cultural definitions of obscenity. I’m not for banning anything, but I do think that we need obscenity laws to deal with the more egregious forms of porn. I understand the legal need for the distinction. But I think I’d like to see our society develop to the point that the degradation of women that characterizes mainstream porn would be considered obscene (and I don’t mean that people would consider porn obscene because it depicts sex — I really do mean that I’d like people to recognize misogyny and degradation as obscene, because it is).

          But I’m not speaking for Faith.

          • octogalore April 6, 2009 at 9:07 PM #

            “I really do mean that I’d like people to recognize misogyny and degradation as obscene, because it is”

            I think most here would agree with you on this. But you are equating porn and misogyny, which is the fundamental disagreement at play here.

            I would imagine that everyone here has a different point at which porn is viewed as misogyny. You in particular suggest that depiction of sex in itself isn’t obscene. I would assume that even those who are generally anti-porn would find porn made by women, for women, and with women as equal participants,”doing with” and not “done to”, to be non-obscene. (Correct me if I am mistaken).

            So the question is one of degree.

            With that in mind, instead of a blanket equation of porn with obscenity, with is both legally and culturally incorrect by most lights, does it not make more sense to determine at what point something becomes misogyny — not with the intent of banning, but with the intent of urging recognition?

            • Nine Deuce April 6, 2009 at 9:11 PM #

              That’s the thing — I’m still waiting to see an example of porn in which I don’t see elements of misogyny/patriarchy.

              • octogalore April 7, 2009 at 12:53 AM #

                I’m still waiting to see an example of a dinner date in which I don’t see elements of patriarchy (and I’m married to a feminist).

                Ultimately, if the standard for acceptable porn is zero patriarchy, that standard would make most cinematic entertainment unacceptable.

                I think a more exhaustive study of porn, eg some examples Ren cites above, would yield some data points that are fairly egalitarian, all things considered.

                • Laurelin April 7, 2009 at 4:04 PM #

                  No-one usually gets raped at a dinner party.

                  Pornography is a slightly more serious topic, with sliiiightly more serious consequences.

                • Laurelin April 7, 2009 at 4:18 PM #

                  Shit- just realised my last comment might be misonstrued as denying date rape! What I meant was that women are raped as a matter of course in the making of pornography, and in having to act out porn as prostitutes or as sexual partners of men on a daily basis. While date rape is rampant, rape at dinner is rather less of a certainty than it is for prostituted women.

                  Thus the consequences of patriarchy in porn are very very very severe, and not to be denied or minimised. And you cannot have porn without patriarchy by definition.

                  But now I am repeating myself, as usual.

                • Nine Deuce April 7, 2009 at 4:51 PM #

                  Yes, but “fairly egalitarian, all things considered” amounts to selling ourselves short. I don’t want to settle, I want patriarchy to go away.

                  • octogalore April 7, 2009 at 5:29 PM #

                    In theory I agree. “Fairly” isn’t good enough. But, per my and Faith’s discussion below, how would a more rigorous standard be administered in practice?

                    If we agree that many interactions between men and women have patriarchal overtones, then there appear to me to be two choices.

                    First, we could simply decide that all graphically sexual depictions are patriarchal, leaving the underlying foundation of non-graphic patriarchy. This would be very difficult to make happen in practice, even if we were all agreed it should.

                    Or, we could look at reforming the basis of male-female interactions, which would then have an effect on sexual representations flowing from that. And simultaneously regulate the porn industry to disincentivize harm to performers.

                    To me, the root of male-female patriarchal interaction is the household. As long as the social and economic dependency in that context exists, any policies to affect sexual representations are merely bandaids.

        • Faith April 6, 2009 at 9:39 PM #

          “Faith, this should help clarify the distinction between pornography and obscentiy and why it’s a distinction with a difference:”

          Octogalore,

          I’m aware of the difference between legal and cultural distinctions. That is in part my point. You can’t just throw out supreme court rulings and state that because the supreme court declared something to be true, that means that it is. It doesn’t work that way. All that means is that the current -legal- framework states that porn and obscenity are synonymous.

          I’m not necessarily saying that I agree that obscenity and porn are synonymous. I’m just pointing out that bringing up legal definitions doesn’t necessarily mean squat. After all, we live in a society in which marital rape didn’t even -legally- exist until the ’90’s.

          • octogalore April 6, 2009 at 10:04 PM #

            You mean “the current -legal- framework states that porn and obscenity are NOT synonymous,” correct?

            Arguably, porn and oscenity are legal terms, like battery and assault.

            But even if you wish to stick with another “cultural” definition, you haven’t said why you disagree with the Miller standard. It seems pretty sensible to me, and to address concerns about misogyny, which of course are eminently legit.

  6. Faith April 6, 2009 at 10:13 PM #

    “You mean “the current -legal- framework states that porn and obscenity are NOT synonymous,” correct?”

    Yes.

    “But even if you wish to stick with another “cultural” definition, you haven’t said why you disagree with the Miller standard.”

    I didn’t -say- that I disagreed with the Miller standard. You -assumed- that I disagreed with the Miller standard. I’ve already explained why I made the comment that I made. You can’t just throw out legal rulings and go, “you’re wrong because the supreme court says so”.

    • octogalore April 6, 2009 at 11:59 PM #

      It’s very difficult to divorce words from their legal meanings. Most people who use these words are familiar with these meanings, as with assault/battery.

      I am asking whether you agree or not, because to explain rigorously why there is a differing cultural standard, you would need to explain why you believe Miller does not represent the general cultural understanding of the words. I happen to believe it does, but am certainly open to a more nuanced expanation of why it doesn’t than “the supreme court said so.”

      • Faith April 7, 2009 at 11:57 AM #

        “It’s very difficult to divorce words from their legal meanings.”

        I don’t necessarily believe that it is. Especially with a word as ambiguous as “obscenity”. Obscenity means so many different things to so many different people that I’m not sure it’s really useful to use the word at all.

        “I am asking whether you agree or not, because to explain rigorously why there is a differing cultural standard, you would need to explain why you believe Miller does not represent the general cultural understanding of the words.”

        The Miller standard is so ambiguous that it could be potentially applied to virtually anything that is sexually-related. Since you have the issue of “community standards”, that also makes pinpointing what is or is not “obscene” virtually impossible. I’m not of the opinion that porn is “obscene”. I’m of the opinion that porn is misogynistic, abusive, degrading, and exploitive. Unless obscenity is defined as being as misogynistic, abusive, degrading, and exploitive, I guess I do disagree with the Miller standard.

        • octogalore April 7, 2009 at 5:24 PM #

          You make a good point that Miller is looking at the definition differently, for the purpose of determining illegality, than one would look at it for another purpose.

          For determining illegality, the SLAP standard makes sense.

          ND states that instead the goal here is: “I really do mean that I’d like people to recognize misogyny and degradation as obscene”.

          It seems, per the conversation with ND, myself and Laurelin above, that there is some consensus on this, but a lack of clarity as to what “misogyny and degradation” entail and also a lack of clarity as to what form “recognizing” would take.

          That may be the source of confusion here. What step are we advocating? I agree with ND that we should not settle for anything less than completely egalitarian. But how does this happen in practice?

          • Nine Deuce April 7, 2009 at 5:32 PM #

            In my opinion, the only way it will happen is via a change in cultural attitudes. You can legislate against discrimination, but you can’t create equality via laws. Sure, I’d like to see us get an ERA so that we’d actually have equal rights under the law, but that’s not enough. My hope for the future entails a much more broad and fundamental restructuring of society and interpersonal relations that will require fairly revolutionary changes in our thinking. By calling attention to the dehumanization in a lot of porn, to the misogyny inherent in our culture, to the injustices women face regularly, I’m trying to do my part to help at least a few people move closer to the kind of worldview that might allow for some real change.

            • octogalore April 7, 2009 at 10:21 PM #

              That seems to have a lot of merit.

              I have seem porn that I believe is feminist. But I agree with you that, while I would not restrict anyone’s rights to participate or partake in it, much of it isn’t.

              I think this is predominantly a result rather than a cause of misogyny, but it certainly doesn’t help. And awareness certainly could, I agree.

              It does make sense to pick an area you care about to work on. My area of most interest is economic and professional inequality, which relates to the sex-class issue in that it creates a motivation for the quid pro quo exchange underlying the patriarchal notion of sex.

              Anyway, thanks for the sharing your views.

      • keygirlus October 18, 2013 at 3:42 PM #

        In casual conversation, most people assume assault reqires bodily contact, when it legally does not. Assault & battery isn’t the law saying the same thing twice, only the battery part requires physical contact, a classic case of legal definition differing from the cultural definition.

  7. The Beautiful Kind April 7, 2009 at 3:24 AM #

    I consider porn anything you use to get off. So if they want to have a cutegasm or a foodgasm instead of an orgasm, oh fine.

    I love porn! Way more than puppies.

    But I think I love Ethiopian food more than porn.

    ~ From a vegetarian animal rights sex worker

    • Valerie April 8, 2009 at 5:04 PM #

      As someone who is for animal rights, do you not consider it problematic when people make something called “puppy porn”?

      I for one get a little freaked at the implication that for some people puppies are so cute it could just make you come- it seems like some sort of borderline zoophilia thing. I think this would bother me even if I was pro-porn.

  8. Aileen Wuornos April 7, 2009 at 10:16 AM #

    I never really got it either and I started to see the terms food porn being used on pro-ana (errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh don’t get me started) sites when I used to frequent them.
    I’m a half assed vegan also. I like to use the term vegetegan. I think it shows I’m not quite committed to either one all the way and I’m some where in the middle ;)
    And I agree. But I think I would have used stronger words ;)

  9. Rachael April 7, 2009 at 11:34 AM #

    Food porn I can understand, since eating good food can be a very sensual experience. Love of good food is so mainstream that the concept of “food porn,” while a bit of an exaggeration, almost makes sense to me.

    But furniture porn? Unless it’s the kind of site that Aine mentioned, I don’t see how looking at beautiful furniture is going to stir up longing within the average person.

    And puppy porn…Ew. That just reminds me of some very horrible furry art I’ve seen.

    • isme April 7, 2009 at 3:00 PM #

      Yeah…”food porn” makes some kind of sense, in the context of female celebrity chefs that people don’t watch for the cooking.

  10. Aileen Wuornos April 8, 2009 at 2:18 AM #

    Just on a random note – have you ever read The Sexual Politics of Meat?

    • Nine Deuce April 8, 2009 at 2:19 AM #

      Nope.

      • Aileen Wuornos April 8, 2009 at 4:13 AM #

        I really recommend it. I think it would be right up your alley. Some of the things in there I disagreed with but most of them were pretty spot on imho. If you get the chance you should check it out ;)

  11. harmony April 8, 2009 at 5:41 AM #

    i’m guilty of talking about food porn. just this weekend i was in a bakery looking at the vegan cakes behind the glass and told my friend “hey, check out the food porn!” but you’ve convinced me. it sucks. no more.

  12. Faith April 9, 2009 at 6:54 PM #

    “And saying ‘oh your voice is important’ and then proceeding to blather on for several paragraphs about your happy experiences and how you love everything is NOT helpful. It’s dismissive and arrogant.”

    If you are referring to my experiences which I noted, I was not intending to be dismissive or arrogant in the slightest. I said what I said because I believe it is equally as harmful to deny that women have positive experiences as it is to deny the negative experiences, which was exactly what Nanella did by saying there is no way that any woman ever could enjoy such an experience of their own volition. That type of attitude is just as unhelpful as denying that many women do things just to placate men, because they have been harmed by porn, and/or because they have been victims of abuse. If we are to come to an understanding of what is or is not healthy sexuality, then there needs to be room for all experiences to be voiced and heard. If you do not wish to hear of the positive experiences, that is most certainly your right. It is also your right to give voice to your own negative experiences and to have them validated.

    I have had plenty of negative sexual experiences with men. I do not deny those experiences. I also certainly do not deny the negative experiences of other women.

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

      Sorry, Faith, my comments were not aimed at you at all. I did not read any dismissal of others in your comments at all, and I should have made it clearer what I meant. But I have seen such dismissive attitudes in sex poz feminists’ writings at times, and I think it is damaging. However, you didn’t come across that way at all.

      ‘I said what I said because I believe it is equally as harmful to deny that women have positive experiences as it is to deny the negative experiences, which was exactly what Nanella did by saying there is no way that any woman ever could enjoy such an experience of their own volition. That type of attitude is just as unhelpful as denying that many women do things just to placate men, because they have been harmed by porn, and/or because they have been victims of abuse.’
      I have to disagree with you on this one. I think that the world generally assumes women enjoy all sorts of sexual practices, including those that demean the integrity of the female body, and thus that there are plenty of places where women can talk about what they enjoy. There is a time and a place for that, and I firmly believe that women who have had very negative experiences should not have to reckon with constant ‘But I like it so that’s okay’s from others (again, NOT saying that’s what you did). It can be triggering, and is at best unhelpful.

      Obviously this is not my blog, so it’s not up to me to say what is in/appropriate here. But those are the reasons that I am heavy handed on my blog when it comes to comments.

      • Nine Deuce April 9, 2009 at 10:39 PM #

        I agree that these discussions are easily taken off track. I’m here discussing the relationship between a sexual practice and women’s oppression, and the discussions often turn into forums for people to discuss their own sexual proclivities. But that’s done in between actual discussion, so it gets by. The perfect comment policy still eludes me.

      • Faith April 9, 2009 at 11:49 PM #

        “I have to disagree with you on this one. I think that the world generally assumes women enjoy all sorts of sexual practices, including those that demean the integrity of the female body, and thus that there are plenty of places where women can talk about what they enjoy.”

        Laurelin,

        It has been my experience that there isn’t any truly safe place for women to discuss our sexual experiences, be they positive or negative.

  13. James April 9, 2009 at 9:51 PM #

    “The word “pornography,” as Laurelin recently pointed out, has a very specific meaning”

    Language is descriptive, not proscriptive. Nobody can develop ironclad laws as to what a word does and does not mean & certainly not someone with as ideologically vested an interest as you do. Usage is what decides content.

    In other words: stop examining the roots and take a glance at the leaves.

  14. Lenni April 10, 2009 at 10:41 AM #

    Whether or not non-misogynistic pornography does or can exist is debatable depending on which definition one uses. For the purpose of study, pornography is divided into three categories:

    Violent Pornography- pornography in which violence is an integral element of its sexual appeal (ranging from sadomasochism to the extreme of snuff films).

    Nonviolent Pornography – (a rather misleading name) pornography that is based upon an element of dominance, implied violence or coercion (most often) by men toward women. This is the category that the vast majority of porn falls under.

    Erotica – sexually explicit material portraying non-aggressive sexual activities between caring, equally willing partners.

    Some people who claim that there exists some non-misogynistic pornography are likely referring to erotica. Given the original definition of pornography it can be argued that erotica does not qualify as pornography at all due to the absence of the element of degradation necessary to warrant the definition of “writing about whores”. It has also been shown that the negative attitudes toward women seen to result from viewing the other two forms of pornography have not been observed to result from viewing erotica.

    In any case I completely agree that there’s something unsavory going on when the definition of pornography evolves from “writing about whores” to “sexually explicit material” to “stuff I like to look at”. It seems to in effect reduce the issue of the degradation of women to a matter of taste. This is potentially a very dangerous idea, especially when you take into account the effect that the bulk of pornography has had on the idea of consent.

    • isme April 11, 2009 at 8:43 AM #

      “In any case I completely agree that there’s something unsavory going on when the definition of pornography evolves from “writing about whores” to “sexually explicit material” to “stuff I like to look at”. It seems to in effect reduce the issue of the degradation of women to a matter of taste. This is potentially a very dangerous idea, especially when you take into account the effect that the bulk of pornography has had on the idea of consent.”

      Surely it’s extremely naive to see something sinister in words changing over 2,000 odd years?

      The word “tyrannos” has come down to us as “tyrant”…originally meaning a ruler that was not a king, but now meaning a cruel and harsh authorative one. We don’t use it in that way because we see non-royal rulers as harsh and oppressive.

      Or, for a more recent example, the word “gay”. That has lost all connection with it’s previous meaning which was around only a few decades ago. When people use the word “gay” as they do nowdays, to mean “homosexual” (or, alternatively, to express contempt), it’s not because of some belief that only homosexual (and/or people worthy of contempt) people are happy.

      To be worried about something because it has the same name as something else millenia ago in a different culture is ludicrous. There are plenty of actual arguments to be made against pornography, adding something as ridiculous as this does the anti-porn cause no favours.

      • Nine Deuce April 11, 2009 at 8:47 AM #

        You’re missing the point. I don’t care whether the word is used the same way as it was in ancient Athens, but what I care about is that the term is used to refer to something misogynistic right now, and using it to refer to something innocuous like food or puppies normalizes the mainstreaming of porn and the misogyny and degradation that characterize most of it.

        • isme April 11, 2009 at 2:05 PM #

          Disagreeing with someone else about something else doesn’t mean I didn’t get your point.

          • Lenni April 12, 2009 at 1:40 PM #

            You’d be right if the statement you went to such great pains to refute wasn’t simply an afterthought stating agreement with her point.

            Your examples of the words “tyrant” and “gay” are in no way analogous to my use of the word “pornography”because their original definitions are for the most part irrelevant to their current use. The main point of my post was to show that the presence of degradation is a nearly universal theme in what we know TODAY as pornography and at its core it therefore CURRENTLY fits its original definition.

            When “sexually degrading depictions” and “depictions of sex in general” become synonymous it normalizes degradation and sends the message that this is the way people normally interact sexually.

            Now when the same sexually degrading depictions become synonymous with “things I like to see” or “things I’m interested in”, what results is the justification of misogynist attitudes and real life sexual degradation of women with the defense “That’s just what I’m into.”

            Ancient Greece had virtually nothing to do with my argument.

      • Laurelin April 11, 2009 at 12:15 PM #

        ‘To be worried about something because it has the same name as something else millenia ago in a different culture is ludicrous. There are plenty of actual arguments to be made against pornography, adding something as ridiculous as this does the anti-porn cause no favours.’

        This is a dismssive and contemtuous attitude, not one to be proud of. Your use of ‘ludicrous’ and ‘ridiculous’ smacks of a silencing technique.

        Don’t you think that using the term ‘porn’ to describe mundane harmless activities as pleasurable is a downright insult to the pornai of ancient Athens? This is not fricking ‘academic’, the porne was a real, concrete person with feelings, humanity and a soul. Her rapes were real. They happened. Just because she lived 3,000 years ago doesn’t make her any less real. If we care about women and their integrity, then we cannot use these terms in such a way.

        This isn’t about words ‘changing’. This is about real women being raped and tortured. This is about respect and humanity, and conscience.

  15. pg April 19, 2009 at 4:49 PM #

    James said:

    Language is descriptive, not proscriptive. [...] In other words: stop examining the roots and take a glance at the leaves.

    ——–
    I think the point is, the leaves are attached to the roots. Referring to anything anything that gives you pleasure to look at, as “porn” is a very new usage of the word. Why do you think this phraseology is entering the common lexicon? Is it not useful to notice when words change and talk about what it means and consciously take some responsibility for our own speech?

  16. James April 19, 2009 at 7:07 PM #

    I think you quite naive to think that male violence is condemned by society.

    “Don’t hit girls”?

    • Nine Deuce April 19, 2009 at 7:18 PM #

      OK, dude. Go play a video game or watch a movie or watch TV or read a book or a comic book. Male violence is totally never celebrated or condoned. Har har.

      • James April 19, 2009 at 7:20 PM #

        I didn’t say it never was, I was attacking the idea that it is not condemned.

        • Nine Deuce April 19, 2009 at 7:21 PM #

          It’s not condemned as it should be.

          • sparklematrix April 19, 2009 at 7:54 PM #

            “Don’t hit girls”

            Is not a condemnation, it’s traditional narrative that holds no bearing in the real world.

            • Laurelin April 19, 2009 at 8:54 PM #

              Quite, sparkle. I’ll believe male violence against women is ‘condemned’ when it stops happening every minute of every day, and when women no longer live in fear of it.

              It’s a pretty crappy condemnation of violence that can’t even get a rapist convicted.

              • sparklematrix April 19, 2009 at 9:38 PM #

                Moreover, “Don’t hit girls” is also a patronising and lip-service attempt to instil chivalry into boys – which doesn’t signify that grown men will hesitate to rape, beat and murder women seemingly with impunity. And whereas we may have an illusion of ‘condemnation’ of male violence, I beg to differ; as the fantasy is denied by prevailing societal attitudes, values and beliefs and judicial outcomes of men who do abuse women. It’s the proof and the pudding stuff as Laurelin has just said.

              • Liselotte April 20, 2009 at 8:03 AM #

                They aren’t convicted when there’s no proof.
                There is laws to persecute them and most people will go as far and scream “penis and heads off” (even though I don’t do this and rather think this is a very poor “true face” of those who think of themselves as just and right, and am rather sceptical of the concept of free will, this is to me at least proof that yes, both rape and abuse are frowned upon). Neither is it socially accepted nor legally.
                It’s just sometimes not persecuted.

                • Faith April 21, 2009 at 12:21 AM #

                  “They aren’t convicted when there’s no proof.”

                  Men are quite often not convicted of abuse and violence against women even when there is solid evidence. This is why feminists state that it is seen as socially acceptable by many people. It doesn’t mean dick for something to be illegal unless the law is enforced. By making it illegal, they can simply pretend to give a fuck when they don’t.

                  • Liselotte April 21, 2009 at 1:16 PM #

                    Ask anyone. Anyone.
                    They’ll all tell you “head off, dick off”, no one will tell you something like “well actually, it’s forbidden, but….”
                    Sorry, but no: I don’t think it’s seen as socially accteptable.

                    • Evo April 21, 2009 at 2:02 PM #

                      What world do you live in? Because it sounds far better than the one the rest of us have to deal with every day.

                    • Liselotte April 21, 2009 at 4:09 PM #

                      Why, I’m living in Germany.
                      Actually, I always thought it’s somewhere on the same world though.

                      Hey, I never said women would not face discrimination. I know better.
                      I just said that, no, torture and murder of women are not seen as socially acceptable by the average person of the industrial nations, nor by any anywhere near sane person I ever met.

                      If anything, at worst the world is populated by a lot of “well meaning” males who say things like “If a woman says no, she means yes” or “women naturally do ….. and without that can’t live fullfilling lives so feminism will destroy familiy, moral and ultimately the world”.
                      Those who actually hate females, or even seek to eleminate them- they’re such a small minority and I didn’t know that’s different in America.

                      But then again, as my “world” becomes more americanized and prudish every day since the 90ies, perhaps one day I know what you mean? I hope not though, sincerely.

  17. Liselotte April 20, 2009 at 7:58 AM #

    >Liselotte, you are speaking to people who have been abused by men who were never punished or censured at all.

    Perhaps there was no proof?
    There HAVE been people persecuted for domestic violence. Much like any crime, sometimes it can’t be proven.
    It is forbidden by law, not allowed (it just, as all crimes, can’t be persecuted if there’s no proof). It is frowned upon by anyone you ask, not tolerated as “it has to be”. It is committed by individuals who have serious psychological issues, neither for profit nor under the order of the state for a “greater good”.

    You wanna tell me, you seriously wanna tell me, that there are completely legal, completely acknowledged, paid by the state institutions who proffessionally gynocide women, in masses, and none of them ever has been punished not because there was no proof but because it is completely legal, and anyone you ask will not tell you “castrate the pig” but rather “Well, I don’t think it’s that good, but it has to be because we’re more important then whether they live or die so you shouldn’t protest”?

    >I think you might want to keep that in mind, and remember that there is an entire class of women in this world that are paid to allow men to hurt them. Your ignorance of this issue is an embarrassment to you.

    You might have noted that by saying “It’s like comparing black slavery to the holocaust” I also compared what happens to females in our society to black slavery so no, I did not say it’s something to ignore.
    But neither black slaves nor forced prostitutes were (in the case of black slaves) / are (in the case of females or prostitutes) gynocided, nor is it legal to kill them, nor does any society approve in torturing or killing them, and even prostitution itself is not seen as “necessary for some kind of greater good” but, if wished to be allowed, seen as something individual allowed for “fun”. Neither forced prostitutes nor any other prostitutes are visited by professional men who feel they have to do this to help anybody.
    I also might add that not all prostitution is forced prostitution (not even is it always forced by emergencies or circustumances) – but this is another topic and now I’m willing to discuss with you forced prostitution, because it does exist and is a problem.

    • Nine Deuce April 20, 2009 at 9:30 AM #

      Please read the comment policy.

    • rmott62 April 20, 2009 at 12:17 PM #

      I don’t know how to express my shock at this quite ignorant views about domestic and the treatment of prostituted women and girls.

      It is hard to express because I feel very shocked at your cold attitude.
      I suppose it easier to “other” those women, than to imagine yourself in their situations.

      Domestic violence is often not “proven” because so much of laws and society’s attitudes is to blame the woman.
      Often the only “proof” that a man is battering his partner, is her murder.
      Battered women are disbelieved and blame all the time, often by the police, by close family, by judges.

      Most men that batter do not have a mental health problem. No, the real horror is they are normal everyman who do it to gain power.
      It is that simple.

      Part of that power comes from knowing that society does not condone their actions.

      As for prostituted women and girls, I believe dividing between forced and non-forced prostitution is a false division.

      You cannot know if someone has chosen prostitution, unless you know their whole life.

      Know whether she was abused sexually, mentally or phsicially before she enter prostitution.
      Know whether she was pressure by a “boyfriend” to earn him money to prove her love for him.
      Whether she wanted a bed for the night coz her home is worse than prostitution.
      Whether her self-esteem is so destroyed that all she can see herself as a sex object.

      These are just a tiny examples of the mental abuse that makes many women and girls choose prostitution.
      If they were questioned they would believed they were forced – they would think that must be violence and trafficking.

      But they will in conditions that are destroying them, and turning into objects.

      As for your dismisive attitude to the murders of prostituted women and girls, I will not and cannot withdraw the word “genocide” to frame those killings.
      Prostituted women and girls are murdered on a mass scale everywhere all the time.
      They are seen by johns as non-humans, and so it is logical to murder them.

      Society, the law and all that should be protecting these women and girls does not just ignore these murders, but places the murderer into the role of cleansing our society of these dirty women and girls.

      Murdering prostitutes is so common that is normally no reported.
      It is common for police that to not search to hard for the murderer.

      After all he may be hard to find for he just like any other man who decide to have complete control over a prostituted woman or girl.

      Please do say that our society cares about the murders of prostituted women and girls until you have read more of the words of exited prostituted women.

    • Faith April 21, 2009 at 12:22 AM #

      “paid by the state institutions who proffessionally gynocide women, in masses, and none of them ever has been punished not because there was no proof but because it is completely legal,”

      The military for one.

  18. Liselotte April 20, 2009 at 8:04 AM #

    Oh, I just made one reply (that one aimed at the last post of “Nine Deuce”) under the wrong post.
    Help, please?

  19. harmony May 2, 2009 at 4:00 AM #

    i don’t know if people are still reading this thread, and i don’t know if people have already made comments about this (haven’t read through them all), but how about alotta other language we use, even feminists, without problematizing it?

    fuck and its derivitives, for instance. fuck is a word i like to use, and use maybe a little too often.

    timothy beneke refers to “fuck” as “rape language”. and i agree. on the one hand, it’s about sex. on the other hand, it’s about aggression, insult, damage, violence.

    let’s look at what dictionary.com has to say about it:

    fuck   /fʌk/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [fuhk] Show IPA Vulgar.
    –verb (used with object) 1. to have sexual intercourse with.
    2. Slang. to treat unfairly or harshly.

    –verb (used without object) 3. to have sexual intercourse.
    4. Slang. to meddle (usually fol. by around or with).

    –interjection 5. Slang. (used to express anger, disgust, peremptory rejection, etc., often fol. by a pronoun, as you or it.)

    –noun 6. an act of sexual intercourse.
    7. a partner in sexual intercourse.
    8. Slang. a person, esp. one who is annoying or contemptible.
    9. the fuck, Slang. (used as an intensifier, esp. with WH-questions, to express annoyance, impatience, etc.)

    —Verb phrases10. fuck around, Slang. a. to behave in a frivolous or meddlesome way.
    b. to engage in promiscuous sex.

    11. fuck off, Slang. a. to shirk one’s duty; malinger.
    b. go away: used as an exclamation of impatience.
    c. to waste time.

    12. fuck up, Slang. a. to bungle or botch; ruin.
    b. to act stupidly or carelessly; cause trouble; mess up.

    —Idiom13. give a fuck, Slang. to care; be concerned.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Origin:
    1495–1505; akin to MD fokken to thrust, copulate with, Sw dial. focka to copulate with, strike, push, fock penis

    i agree with nine deuce’s suggestion that we not say things like “food porn” “puppy porn” etc. i had done this a few times before, always felt a little weird about it but not weird enough not to do it, but after reading this blog entry i’m done with saying it.

    but i’m not done with saying “fuck”, “screw”, etc. i went through a phase where i didn’t say these words, but it didn’t last hardly a month (a week? i didn’t count).

    does that make me a hypocrite? how do others feel?

    where do we draw the line?

    there are other words i could have brought up. like calling people a dick or a cock to say they’re cruel, disrespectful, rude, etc. it seems to naturalize this association between being a male and being cruel. and it’s that essentialist bullshit that anti-feminists use to justify patriarchy and male violence.

  20. harmony May 2, 2009 at 4:01 AM #

    oops, think i left my comment as a reply to a specific comment a little ways up, rather than just at the bottom of all the comments. shitty.

  21. Nine Deuce May 6, 2009 at 9:59 PM #

    There are too many straw men here for me to take this seriously.

  22. Andrew December 5, 2009 at 5:28 PM #

    I know this threat is old but…

    I actually don’t think ND’s porn analysis is off the mark. Nudity and sexual depictions do not have to be porn, but porn is always obscene.

    I’ve also never been able to get my head around how it does not fall under the umbrella of prostitution. I sometimes wonder if a guy can show up in a brothel with a handy cam and be immune to prosecution because he’s saying he’s making a video.

    I also think the Supreme Court’s logic in upholding porn is suspect, and would nessecarily fail under a more feminist interpretation, probably for the same reason that child porn is not protected. (If it wouldn’t, your essentially upholding the right to be an indentured servant/prostitute, and this “right to contract” (used to strike down minimum wage laws) hasn’t existed for 80 years.)

    As far as applying it to food and puppies go, it’s dumb. The same thing happens in video games though. Not that anyone would probably know this (it might even be a good post) but on a lot of multiplayer games online the phrases “Get raped”, “I just raped you”, “I just got fucking raped” are all used to depict some sort of victory or defeat. This has implications for people who are actually rape victims, even if the meaning of the word has been broadened.

    Before talking about if porn is on the verge of being totally legitmized, I think we should take a step back and realize that sexual behavior in general is kinda anti-feminist. For example, if feminists could redesign our sexual hardwiring/physical characteristics I don’t think we’d end up with a model where men end up mounting and invading women. I think this is the reason for the problem.

    Porn is fucked up because sex is fucked up. Before somebody got the idea that cumming in some girls eye would make a great video, he had the idea that cumming in her eye would be lots of fun. Whether someone likes being slapped or pissed on or what not during sex , it doesn’t mean that you’re not being violated or dehumanized in some way. When you put it on video and sell it to the world, it doesn’t mean that you’re not selling and profiting off the dehumanization.

    In short, to at least be consistent, if the guys at the end of the chain are peices of shit for consuming porn, then the people making it (at least the ones acting on their own free will) have to be as well. This includes the girls.

  23. Nine Deuce December 5, 2009 at 10:41 PM #

    You can try all you want to place the blame on the women (NOT “girls”) in porn for its problematic aspects, but all that does is illustrate your unwillingness to confront the more systemic forces at work, which makes you look like a Libertarian (not cool).

  24. montreal women December 6, 2009 at 4:54 AM #

    Remember the Montreal Massacre tomorrow. Fourteen women engineering students gunned down by Marc Lepine, shouting that feminists were at fault for (_ and _ and _). http://www.canada.com/Massacre+recalled+20th+
    anniversary/2307638/story.html

  25. lizor December 7, 2009 at 2:34 PM #

    Hey, I’m coming to this post and discussion pretty late, but there are a couple of things I’d like to comment on.

    First of all, thanks, ND for reminding me of the roots of the word Porn.

    Here in the north where I live, lots of people spend long stretches of time in the bush and we often use the term “Nature Porn” in reference to Nature programming where the viewer gets very close to dangerous, but charismatic predators, no animals harm or kill each other, there are no bugs, and no pesky unwashed poor people wrecking the fantasy of “pristine wilderness”.

    So I guess I have come to see the word “porn” as indicating a projected fantasy.

    Now I am going to rethink that, because obviously porn is the projected fantasy of misogyny, not human sexuality. I.E. – it’s not my fantasy. This post made me realize that here again is another example of the male perspective having been assimilated as encompassing the experience of all genders.

    Thanks Montreal Woman for the post regarding the anniversary of The Massacre. I was in the city at the time and I’ll never forget that chilling event.

    *FTR, while I am a wild-meat carnivore, I also have vegan cookbooks and make lots of vegan meals to share with my “bloodthirsty” hunter/trapper friends.

  26. lizor December 7, 2009 at 2:39 PM #

    I tried to include a link regarding the vegan lobby (which explains my orphaned footnote) in my last post, but got a “discarded” message when I tried to submit my comment. Pulled it and it seemed to submit OK.

    FTR, it was to a Peta campaign image of a naked woman on all fours in a cage. Well, OK, she was wearing lots of makeup, so not completely naked.

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