Porn Part 11: The Difference Between Huffing Dong and Flipping Burgers

15 Mar

For some reason the end note on Porn Part 10 explaining my use of the phrase “commercial rape” has caused an uproar amongst several people who were apparently unable to understand the post itself or the difference between flipping burgers and letting people ejaculate all over you. One of the objections pseudo-intellectual Libertarian dudes like to bring to any discussion of porn and whether it amounts to rape is the fact that no one would consent to do their jobs were they not being paid to do so. This type of objector to feminist discourse casually saunters into an ongoing debate, barely skims the post, completely ignores the comments, plonks his point down in a single sentence surrounded by chimerical “gotchas” and the stench of unwarranted arrogance, and then dips out, assuming he has decimated decades of feminist theory with the epiphany-inducing proclamation he has blessed us womenfolk with.

Naturally, I delete the vast majority of these comments out of respect for the people on this site who actually read and think about what’s being discussed, but I suppose the argument that sex work is like all other work is raised often enough — even in radical circles — that I ought to address it.

In a capitalist economy, labor of any kind, whether physical, mental, or a combination thereof, is assigned an abstract value attached either to a set unit of time during which the work will be performed or to an individual task that is to be performed. All labor relations are considered by “free-market” capitalists to be contract relationships between the employer and the person performing the labor. The person performing the labor, as capitalist ideology goes, is a free agent who chooses the terms under which she or he will perform labor for recompense, limited in only the most basic of ways by federal labor and minimum wage laws. It is upon this idea of free contract labor that political participation and citizenship are founded in the US and most other developed countries.* The problem with the theory of free contract labor has been and always will be the reality workers face when making the decision to sell their labor. The value assigned to a given unit of labor is said to derive from its relative scarcity in a supply-and-demand driven market economy, rather than from the cultural context in which the value of the labor is determined, but that assessment relies on the assumption that markets operate in rational, predictable ways. Clearly, that is not the case.  The value of a given form of labor is not set by the laborer in a vacuum, but is rather constrained by the social, cultural, and economic conditions in which the labor contract is negotiated. There is a reason that most economic predictions fail: economists generally can’t figure out how to account for the often strange contingencies of human psychology and culture.

One of capitalism’s central features, at least according to orthodox capitalist ideology, is universalism. To each according to his merit, as it were. The problem, however, is that capitalism has required racism and sexism as fundamental components of its ability to function on a global scale. The history of the spread of capitalism is inextricably bound up with the history of slavery, imperialism, and the general devaluation of the labor (and lives) of women and people of color for the sake of increased profit. Capitalist ideology is simultaneously universalist, sexist, and racist, because it grew out of and flourished in an intellectual and political climate characterized by all three.**

Most radical anti-capitalism theorists unfortunately fail to recognize that patriarchy has existed far longer than capitalism has and will likely outlast capitalism, and hence must be taken account of if one wishes to devise a politico-economic theory that will actually end group-based hierarchy. Despite the presence of a vocal contingent of purportedly radical men who are pro-sex work, the numbers of those who are anti-capitalism, though growing, are still relatively small, and there are far more regular old dudes who make the “all work is exploitation so porn ain’t so bad” argument.

I’ll pretend for a second that the dudes — radical or otherwise — who take that position are simply expressing an honestly-arrived-at objection to the argument that porn and prostitution are commercial rape.

The value of a given form of labor is determined by demand for that form of labor in a sense, but both demand and the value assigned to labor are socially constructed. In your average office job, the amount of money a worker is paid is determined by how much her employer has determined her set of skills and time are worth, usually about 75% of the amount they would pay a male worker for the same work. Were market forces to operate according to capitalist theory, that pay gap would not exist. “The market” doesn’t work as indicated in this scenario because the market operates within a social system of beliefs. US law, for the majority of the last century, treated women’s work as supplementary to that of a putative male breadwinner, and thus as deserving of a lower wage than men’s work, regardless of whether the female worker in question was married. Despite the 1963 Equal Pay Act, the pay gap persists because the social and cultural expectations that undergirded prior laws and court decisions upholding sex-based wage discrimination continue to exist. Law and economics are not extra-cultural. Because the social and economic gender roles of the wider culture defined manhood in large part as the ability to provide for a family through either wage work or business ownership and defined womanhood as caring for a home, husband, and children, the law and the market followed suit by restricting women’s ability to do as they saw fit with their own labor and by devaluing that labor relative to that of men.***

Women’s labor, then, is undervalued in the sense that they are paid less for work that both women and men do. In fact, there are only a few forms of labor for which women are not paid less than men, and they have a very important feature in common: jobs for which women are paid more than men require both self-destruction and complicity in the propagation of misogyny. For example, female fashion models are paid more than male fashion models because female fashion models, through starving themselves and posing for photo spreads that will later be edited to make their already rare looks even more unattainable, help inculcate a sense of self-loathing among women when they realize that they don’t measure up to an ever-changing and impossible beauty ideal based on the sexual desires of men. Women in porn are paid more than men are because the women in porn play an active role in communicating messages about women that a misogynistic world wants to hear and which help to solidify and expand that misogyny. Consent, in a scenario in which women can only out-earn men by offering themselves up as objects to be debased and consumed, means something far different than it does to the men who love the concept so much. Under non-commercial circumstances, consent’s already noxious definition is “I’ll allow you” rather than “I want to.” In a commercial context, it means, “Because you are paying me, I’ll allow you even though I don’t want to and it likely hurts and makes me feel subhuman, and I agree not to call the cops afterward.”

Porn and prostitution are qualitatively different from other remunerative activities because penetration has long been a metaphor for and a literal act of domination. Most men conceive of their bodies as impermeable, discreet, sovereign units. They are aware that penetrating another human being’s body has a deep psychological impact on the person being penetrated, and it is thus no surprise that men reared in societies that valorize violence, aggression, and competition would come to equate penetration with vanquishing the penetrated.**** Women who participate in the production of pornography not only allow themselves to be penetrated — often violently and often by many men — but they usually evince (paid for/faked/half-hearted) pleasure, which communicates a very clear message to the audience: women like to be dominated, humiliated, vanquished, and used by men; a desire to be dominated is an essential component of femaleness that inheres in women in the form of a vagina, which exists for men to penetrate. It is on this view of femaleness and the use of sex as a tool of domination that societal misogyny rests.

So, yes, allowing one’s body to be penetrated for money, even if it causes a pleasurable physical sensation, is a greater acquiescence to exploitation than agreeing to make $5 Footlongs for $7 an hour, even though it pays more. Participating in the making of anti-woman propaganda requires far greater emotional, physical, and political compromises on women’s part than any job men do for equivalent pay. The relatively high (for women) wage porn work and prostitution command does not represent our society’s great love for the female form, it signifies the fact that we are willing to pay somewhat dearly to uphold and jack off to misogyny.

Of those men who come here and make the simplistic and dishonest argument that porn isn’t rape because all work requires us to consent to things we wouldn’t do for free, I would like to ask how much your boss would have to pay you to let him fuck you in the ass while you blow his assistant before he, his assistant, and the janitorial staff ejaculate all over your face. Video of the event would, of course, be posted on the internet and would be available to anyone with basic internet search skills until the day you die. I am truly interested in hearing the figures, which are surely more than $1000.

* See Alice Kessler-Harris, In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America.

** See Immanuel Wallerstein, “The Ideological Tensions of Capitalism: Universalism Versus Racism and Sexism.”

*** Kessler-Harris, chapter 1.

**** See Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse.

149 Responses to “Porn Part 11: The Difference Between Huffing Dong and Flipping Burgers”

  1. Kristine March 15, 2012 at 8:01 PM #

    Wow. Thanks for this. It makes so much sense. I can’t wait for the mansplainer’s rebuttals to be posted.

  2. ragazzaccia March 15, 2012 at 8:25 PM #

    ND for President!

    Thank you for bringing all of these points together so nicely. The issue of consent can never be discussed enough, as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Fede March 16, 2012 at 12:19 AM #

    Yup. The next man who makes any attempt to defend the porn industry in my physical presence will get no argument from me. He might get castrated though. Because really, what can you say to a man who has the intolerable, idiotic nerve to think that the exact same scenario that would leave him devastated would be totally acceptable to some women (the dirty ones)? A man who thinks that those loose women are just a different species and one cannot account for their tastes?

    It’s the same kind of ‘reasoning’ at work when white supremacist arseholes (the ones who do not admit to being white supremacists) start waxing nostalgic about how some slaves were in fact quite happy with their lives in slavery and wouldn’t have it any other way. What can one say to the so-called people who make such so-called arguments?

    People only choose to be slaves if they were slaves to begin with.

    • Nine Deuce March 16, 2012 at 1:00 AM #

      People only choose to be slaves if they were slaves to begin with.

      I’m not a dork, so I’ll never say FTW (whether it means “for the win” or “fuck the world” is incidental), and I will never approve of tattoos, but I will say that Fede has given me an idea for a t-shirt that I will wear at all times.

      • tarsier August 22, 2014 at 10:58 AM #

        I hate the idea of porn and wish it didn’t exist. But I also believe that people should have the right to sell their bodies/dignities/whatever if they so choose.

        I have a question here, but I’m not entirely sure how to phrase it. But here’s my best attempt. If a woman is willing to perform acts that you and I would consider degrading (but that she may or may not) in exchange for $5 or $5M or whatever number, do you deny her the right to do so?

        Is this a matter of them hurting the rest of womankind by normalizing exploitation? Or is it that you don’t deem their wages high enough for the degradation they receive because you wouldn’t accept that transaction?

        • jaheni August 23, 2014 at 7:28 PM #

          Why are you focusing on HER rather than on the producers and consumers, i.e. men, who hold significant social and economic privilege over her? It’s not about whether an act is objectively degrading or if a person is being paid “enough” to be degraded; it’s about who (men) is paying whom (women) and why (to reproduce male hegemony).

  4. Elaine March 16, 2012 at 4:43 AM #

    The negative comments you receive on these posts just prove, imo anyway, that you’re hitting a really sensitive nerve with some males who are trying hard to defend their usage of porn with the rationalization that yeah, ‘sex work’ is just a job like any other. It isn’t and they know it, but like most people who derive pleasure from something they realize is inherently wrong, they’ll fight tooth and nail to defend their interest in it.

    Please keep up this series, Nine. This is exactly the kind of comprehensive, no-hold-barred, no-apologies-offered, truculent (and honest, and madly intelligent!) deconstruction of a genuinely hateful cultural phenomenon that old-time feminists like me
    have been longing to see be put out there.

  5. Sam Berg March 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM #

    Job-havers are rewarded more as their skills and experience increase. Exploitation is the opposite, it’s draining a person such that time and experience decreases their value. New 13-year-old bodies command a far higher price on the prostitution market than 33-year-old bodies with twenty years of experience. Men treat prostitutes like new cars, dramatically dropping their value the instant it’s driven off the lot.

    There’s a Christmas episode of Futurama were Santa enslaved the elves on a planet. When the crew arrived two elves approached them, one saying, “Looking for a good kidney?” and the other, “I’ll let you punch me in the face for a dollar.” I go back and forth on which of those more accurately describes prostitution.

    Why isn’t paying mothers to raise children anywhere on liberal feminism’s to-do list but legitimizing men financially extorting sexual submission from women gets cover story after exclusive interview after newspaper column after book deal?

  6. Mia XX March 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM #

    oh god, that video’s fucked up… but it’s probably less fucked up than the actual porn, when the woman’s having to pretend to like it. (and that’s just the less sadistic porn… god. I know this should all be obvious but that has just clarified even more just how extreme and widespread misogyny IS. I mean fuck… men watch this shit for fun, to get off on it. It makes me wanna cry. Or smash something. Or throw up.)

  7. angela March 16, 2012 at 6:47 PM #

    absolutely brilliant! I have been making that point about fashion models and porn ‘stars’ pay for years. I am so tired of porn and prostitution defenders, it makes me sick to think some people i know would more readily defend the rights of a woman to be in porn or prostitution than her right not to be abused in it. And they call themselves revolutionary.

  8. skeptifem March 17, 2012 at 2:31 AM #

    The dudes who make the sandwhich comparison always think they are being so clever and original, too. How annoying.

    I did a post awhile back about the practical difference between sex work and other work. People who are not sex workers, but are routinely exposed to disease, get much better protection than sex workers. If sex workers were treated as well as a lab processor or a CNA there would be few sexual acts that could practically happen, with so much personal protective equipment in the way it would be difficult to facilitate things like penetrative sex. Exposure to body fluids is a Big Deal in a clinical setting, regardless of the source patient demographics or liklihood of disease.

    I also wonder how the dudes could compare theft of sex work to theft of sandwhices. If the two kinds of work were equivalent then sexual assault would be equivalent to a certain level of sandwhich threat.

  9. Sara March 17, 2012 at 8:43 AM #

    Brilliant post.

    This is the sort of thing I’d like my friends to read, the male ones particularly, but it’s nearly impossible because they’re too indoctrinated, suspicious, even a little hostile, towards feminism, and love porn.
    What feminist books do you think are a good primer for people like that?

  10. Nick Nakorn March 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM #

    I so agree. I used to contribute a bit to the site run by Carlin Ross and Betty Dodson but, over the past few years, they have become so pro-porn I’ve given up commenting. Issues of race, gender and power politics seem to illicit some pretty agressive responses from some of their regulars – references to bell hooks are treated almost like references to Stalin. I’d go to the pub but it’s worse.

    • Silent Agony (@DiscordantFlesh) February 22, 2013 at 1:41 PM #

      That was bothering me too! I had to unsubscribe from them on YouTube it was terrible and surprising that someone who calls themself an expert to support something so dehumanizing. Glad I’m not the only one, thanks!

  11. EmilyBites March 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM #

    Thanks ND – it is blindingly obvious that prostitution and porn (same diff, often prostituted women are filmed anyway and the presence of a camera doesn’t make porn not-prostitution) are different to flipping burgers.

    Shelley Lubbens is always excellent talking about the impossibility of the porn industry complying with the health and safety standards required of any other workplace.
    Ffs – a workplace where you are constantly exposed to bodily fluids with little to no protection, and where sexual harassment, assault and rape by your co-workers and boss are impossible to differentiate from your job itself?! How do workplace harassment laws work in the porn industry again?

    And yeah, being treated violently, spoken to aggressively and forcing your body to endure pain and damage at work obviously takes a psychological toll. As you point out, Nine Deuce, penetration IS a big deal in our culture and porn stars aren’t magically immune to the message that being penetrated is synonymous with being dominated, degraded, owned, used, vanquished, etc. Think of the co-worker you don’t get on with. He’s an asshole, he makes sexist jokes and is always coming on to you. Now imagine being required by your boss to let the co-worker penetrate you and ejaculate inside you (condoms – they aren’t reliably used in the porn industry). It makes me cold with horror.

    I *always* ask guys who say porn’s just another job if they got fired tomorrow (it’s always employed, middle class guys) which job they’d choose – letting other men penetrate them, or flipping burgers.

    Bodily integrity – it’s a real thing.

  12. Fyrehed March 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM #

    My hope is that with the rise of the internet and the affordability of cameras amateur porn will eventually take over the porn industry and then maybe we can actually see some porn that isn’t the classic dominant/submissive set-up aimed at putting women in their ‘place.’

    Also, this is an issue with gay porn as well. Many of the young men in those videos are badly injured and they’re rarely justly compensated or treated for the physical and psychological problems it brings them.

    What it all says to me is we need a porn revolution, we need decent people to be making porn, not rapists.

    Get your cameras out, ladies (and GENTLEmen), it’s time to make us some feminist porn!

    • Nine Deuce March 19, 2012 at 1:01 PM #

      Yeah, that’s the solution.

    • NIX July 31, 2013 at 2:46 PM #

      Yes – because MORE objectification has definitely been shown to REDUCE rape, harassment, abuse and degradation of women. Fucking idiot.

  13. MissFit March 19, 2012 at 2:41 PM #

    Some men push the button as far as saying that porn is actually ‘feminist’ because women make more money than men in the industry. To which I reply that men in porn are paid to orgasm, while women are paid to suffer, which is why they deserve and receive a higher monetary compensation. But money is a bad substitute for dignity and body integrity.

    I am tired of men who, by wanting so hard to justify their porn use without acknowledging the harm done to women, over-rationalise some aspect of it while closing their eyes to the obvious. And when we ask them if they would like to be treated like the women in porn, they say ‘of course not, but that does not mean that those girls don’t, it is not because YOU won’t like these things to be done to your body that THEY do not like it’. Because ‘those girls’ are so different then us, regular human beings…

    The fact is that women have been brainwashed to think that enduring pain is an integral part of their duty of performing femininity. Women harm their feet to walk in high heels. Women voluntarily submit themselves to painful surgeries to have bigger breast. They go through painful waxing procedures. Women are good women when they overcome their pain with a smile. And now, thanks to porn, girls are seeking advice on the internet about how to give deepthroated blowjobs without puking and how to make anal sex less painful. Men are never expected to do such things…

    It is amazing that when discussing those issues, some people seem to erase all notion of basic psychology, ending all discussion by the ‘choice’ argument. They avoid acknowledging where these choices come from. Why women would choose to do this? Are women just weak and stupid? This is BRAINWASHING! Cultural conditionning! I know, I have been brainwashed too. I did blame myself for my bad choices. But then I realise that we are a product of our environement. If our environment sends us the message that our value lies in being sexual objects for men, this is what we will look for (even more so if we come from broken families where we lacked validation, like a lot of the girls ending up doing pornstitution). We all want to be loved and valued and the patriarchy plays with those very human desires. I realise now that I was misguided and manipulated by the patriarchy. This kind of realisation takes time, reflection, it comes with age and experience (unfortunately, radical feminism is not part of the school curriculum). I was (and still am) angry… at society, at men… and also at women, to have let these lies go free.

    This is why we need more women like ND and the others commenting here, and on other blogs, because our voices need to be heard out loud. We are the majority! Yes, no matter what the ‘funfems’ and ‘pro-sex’ moralisers (yes, I think they are moralisers!) want us to belive, the fact is that the majority of women and girls know deep down that something is wrong.

  14. ibleedpurple March 19, 2012 at 4:16 PM #

    Some men push the button as far as saying that porn is actually ‘feminist’ because women make more money than men in the industry. To which I reply that men in porn are paid to orgasm, while women are paid to suffer, which is why they deserve and receive a higher monetary compensation.

    That’s true. Women in porn are given hazard pay. Your earning potential increases with the risk you are willing to take, i.e. how much penises will penetrate which orifices (simultaneously). This is why men who are in dire need of money will start to perform in gay porn – it pays more because it’s more dangerous. The money acts as a coercive.

    And now, thanks to porn, girls are seeking advice on the internet about how to give deepthroated blowjobs without puking and how to make anal sex less painful.

    That reminds me: there obviously was someone on a conference on social work with children who had experienced girls asking her for medicine to help with overcoming the pain of having anal sex. They obviously did not feel “empowered” to ask their boyfriends to stop. This is why no means no is in so many ways superior to yes means yes. The article in which I found this anecdote was written by a guy, a social worker himself, who brushed it off as an isolated incident. Obviously, a certain amount of collateral damage of the most vulnerable is a sufficient sacrifice to make. I am astounded by the amount of people who are not willing to sacrifice their orgasms so that girls might not suffer under highly impressionable and probably already brutalized male lovers.

  15. Aileen Wuornos March 20, 2012 at 11:06 PM #

    Feminist porn, el oh fucking el.

    You know the scary thing is I think most-porn supporters do actually know the risks involved, while discussing the subject with a mate of mine, she stated that eventually the aggressive and multiple penetrations of the women in the film would eventually take a psychological toll on anyone. I was dumbfounded that you could think that and still consume pointless shit like John Stagalino’s misogynistic trash and purport to enjoy it? It made and still makes no sense to me.

    @IBleedPurple raises an excellent point also, far more eloquent than anything I could conjure up. The only reason any (especially under eighteens,) male would be interested in penetrating a woman anally is the influence of pornography and the desire for power over the girl/woman penetrated.

  16. lizor March 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM #

    @ sara – check out The Macho Paradox by Jackson Katz. Have not read it myself, but the reviews are good.

  17. dope March 21, 2012 at 4:01 PM #

    This entire post is so spot-on, as with the rest of the series.

    What I’m continually amazed by is the fact that so many otherwise intelligent people become complete morons while discussing pornography or BDSM. People who in other areas are capable of thoroughgoing critiques suddenly stop at ‘consent’ as if it’s the be all and end all (of course consent is crucially important! But acknowledging this should be the start rather than the end of the conversation).

    To men (I am male, and someone who’s been conditioned to get off on this stuff, like the majority of men in society), it’s obvious that most pornography, the most mainstream of mainstream even, is brutally misogynistic. The idea that a woman being degraded is liberating for her because she might have ‘freely’ chosen it is utterly laughable to men. The fact that women calling themselves feminists are actually arguing this point with any kind of seriousness is a total joke to most men. And the idea that these women are ‘breaking taboos’ of some sort is equally scoffed at, because in actuality they’re conforming to patriarchy in a way that men could have hardly imagined in the recent past. That being degraded and abused – or having a desire (real or contrived) to be degraded and abused – has become an integral part of of femininity to many women today is completely backwards.

    The idea that the majority of pornography or the acts contained therein could ever possibly be conceived of as sexually liberating is viewed by most men as a joke (and I’m convinced that ‘dudes’ know the truth of this deep down).

  18. pisaquari March 21, 2012 at 6:11 PM #

    The difference between huffing burgers and flipping dong< I just found one!

    • Nine Deuce March 21, 2012 at 6:38 PM #

      I wish my blog had a “like” feature.

  19. lizor March 22, 2012 at 8:36 AM #

    @ dope

    I recently saw the indie film Tiny Furniture. The painfully sad “consensual” sex scene towards the end underscores the absolute lack of meaning or substance “consent” has in this porn-soaked culture.

  20. dope March 22, 2012 at 1:33 PM #

    I’ll look into that. Is the film making the point intentionally? Or is it just that awful? In any case, I suppose I do have masochistic streak when it comes to putting myself through terrible film. So it’s likely I’ll end up watching it either way!

  21. lizor March 22, 2012 at 3:51 PM #

    @ dope

    I thought it was very good work. However, the significance of that scene was lost on all of the reviewers that I read. Similar to the way reviewers wrote about the awful rape/performance in the miserable film Requiem for a Dream was constantly referred to as “a lesbian orgy”. I thought Requiem was horrid and self-indulgent whereas I though TF, while not without some flaws, had honesty and insight.

  22. lizor March 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM #

    Oh – and to answer your question, I’m unsure if the writer director was making the point specifically and explicitly, but my guess is that she would agree with that analysis.

  23. Alouette March 23, 2012 at 2:46 AM #

    Exactly. Men don’t believe the nonsense that degradation can be anything but degrading. They’re all so smug with their burger flipping analogies too. So, so obvious that they get off on the obfuscation. Not only to they get away with coercing women into unthinkable, dehumanizing acts, but they get glorify their immorality as champions of “personal liberty” and “choice.” It sickens me.

    That said, no woman truly believes it either. The real difference is they want to. There are men who routinely abuse women on film making a profit from the masses of other men who vicariously live through these abusive scenes in porn for their own sexual gratification. Since most women (unfortunately) respect men as human beings, they cannot accept that virtually all the men they know either don’t care how porn damages women psychologically or are further aroused by their suffering. Even if a woman acknowledges these facts about men, she probably feels helpless to stop the exploitation. Thinking of it as a “choice” can help alleviate the rage and despair she feels when faced with that realization.

    The only reason pro porn feminism has gained traction is because, yet again, men are exploiting their relationships with women as husbands, fathers, and sons and their collective power under patriarchy in order to do evil against us. Women aren’t stupid.

  24. Sara March 23, 2012 at 8:59 AM #

    @ lizor – thank you.

  25. dope March 23, 2012 at 1:42 PM #

    “That said, no woman truly believes it either.”

    True. And yet the dogged pursuit of the delusion still amazes when it comes to the sheer output of pro-porn feminist literature (books, papers,blogs, etc., all re-stating the same tired, uncritical arguments about agency, choice, enjoyment over and over and over), and the fact that it increasingly seems to dominate the online sphere in particular – and the fact that many women I know will argue vehemently against me. Growing up amongst feminists, I find this turn both baffling and profoundly depressing. ;/

  26. Kara March 25, 2012 at 1:45 AM #

    You’re awesome! Thank you for another great post.

  27. skeptifem March 25, 2012 at 11:31 PM #

    re:pay

    Most men are shocked at how little women in porn are actually paid. Unless it comes with a lifetime supply of health insurance women are essentially being infected with diseases for money. Even people who think that there is nothing degrading about porn need to be pressed on this point, it is something that even the porn sick have difficulty stomaching.

  28. isme March 26, 2012 at 6:59 AM #

    There is this weird assumption that the porn industry is perfectly regulated to ensure that nobody who works in it carries any communicable diseases whatsoever.

  29. Alex March 28, 2012 at 12:31 PM #

    As i understand it, your argument is based on the assumption that the act of penetration is an act of dominance (and thus of agression/violence). If that were true, i would probably have to agree with everything you wrote. But honestly, i’m not really sure why that assumption is taken for granted by almost so many people. My guess is it has something to do with traditional judeo-christian morality and the vilification of the sexual act, but of course that’s just a suspicion without evidence.

    In any case, i don’t think one can just state that every act of penetration is an act of domination and expect people to take it as some sort of self-evident truth. Also, on a related note, one can’t just assume every woman in the porn industry is secretly suffering, while only faking consent and pleasure to their male opressors. While i’m sure that might be the case with some of the actresses (and actors, for that matter), i personally wouldn’t feel comfortable playing the spokesperson for such a varied and numerous group of people.

    Furthermore, what about male gay porn? What about fetish porn in wich the female part plays a dominant and maybe even violent role? Are these kinds of porn better, worse or just as destructive as “standart” heterosexual porn?

    Just to be clear, i am not defending the porn industry. I am not defending every kind of porn that is out there. I am most certainly not defending the kind of porn that very clearly and explicitly IS violent and demeaning to women (It does exist, there is no doubt about that). I do think, however, that the general concept of “two or more people having sex on camera and getting paid for it” is simply no one’s business but the people’s who are involved in it.

    TL;DR: I don’t think the act of penetration is necessarily an act of domination/violence, therefore paying people for it isn’t necessarily exploitation, therefore porn isn’t necessarily “commercial rape”.

    • Nine Deuce March 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM #

      The assumption is not that penetration is an act of domination, it is that men conceive if it that way.

  30. No Sugarcoating March 28, 2012 at 5:33 PM #

    Alex, rape is still rape even if it’s done gently. It’s not the penetration that makes it rape, but that the actress in question doesn’t actually desire to be penetrated by porndude. Even if we ignore how poverty plays a role in coercing these women, it’s painfully obvious that 99% of the dudes in porn are hideous, at best, and terrible in penetrative sex at that.

  31. Fede March 28, 2012 at 6:54 PM #

    one can’t just assume every woman in the porn industry is secretly suffering, while only faking consent and pleasure to their male opressors. While i’m sure that might be the case with some of the actresses (and actors, for that matter), i personally wouldn’t feel comfortable playing the spokesperson for such a varied and numerous group of people.

    The argument does not rest on the assumption that every single woman ever involved in porn was secretly suffering. It rests on the fact that the consumer of porn has no way of knowing which of the women, the pronging of whom he jerked off to, were in fact suffering. And since he does not know, there is an overwhelmiing probability that he has jerked off to someone’s suffering. An overwhelming probability, in fact, that he has participated in the rape (by coercion) of countless women, since the average porn consumer has jerked off to the pronging of a large number of (interchangeable, disposable) women. The fact that that there is a chance that one or two of the women were not suffering is deeply irrelevant.

  32. Fede March 28, 2012 at 7:02 PM #

    So, Alex, if you have jerked off to the fucking of, say, ten different porn actresses, there is a chance, I will grant you, that it was only in eight or nine of those cases that you participated in their rape. Good for you!

  33. bright24 March 29, 2012 at 4:05 AM #

    Oh Alex, we never thought to see it that way! YOU don’t think penetration is ‘necessarily an act of domination’, so we should just adjust our worldview (to make it contrary to what MOST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET think, including the people making and watching porn) and everything would be gravy?

  34. emilybites March 29, 2012 at 4:20 AM #

    You guys, what would we do without Alex? He quite rightly points out that since HE doesn’t see penetration ‘necessarily as an act of dominance’, that it actually isn’t. We just needed to adjust our worldview so it was contrary to what everyone else thinks, including the people making and viewing porn, and we’re sorted!

  35. Sam Berg March 29, 2012 at 10:39 AM #

    Alex,

    Fuck you.

    Think about it.

  36. emilybites March 29, 2012 at 12:02 PM #

    Crap, sorry everyone – wordpress giving me grief so I posted twice with at different times.

    Alex, you get the picture, right? I’m saying you’re full of shit.

  37. Alex March 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM #

    Ehh, what? Did i really express myself that badly? I refuse to see the sexual act as inherently agressive or violent, why exactly does that make me half a rapist…? I suppose a few sex-positive feminists might even agree with me, allthough i must say i don’t like to put words and opinions in other people’s mouths (unlike some of the commenters here, who apparently know what “most people on the planet” think and feel about everything).

    You say people perceive the sexual act as an act of domination. I’ll admit that some people probably do and that that the argument does make sense in a way. My dog frequently tries to mount other dogs as an instinctive act of domination. We are all just mammals, after all. Then again, my dog sometimes pees on stuff as an act of domination and does all kinds of crazy things instinctively. I wouldn’t want to equate my dog’s sexuality/sexual behaviour with my own (even though i love the little guy and his rape attempts… just kidding, don’t get all angry again).

    As i already said (!) in my first comment, i am NOT defending the porn industry, i am NOT defending porn as a whole and as it is nowadays. I am merely defending the freedom of consenting adults to do with their sex life as they please (and if that includes filming their sexual interactions and selling it to people, so be it).

    • Rvh April 20, 2013 at 2:43 PM #

      Um. Porn is not precisely “two consenting adults filming their (gag) sex life” though is it? For fucks sake. In case you missed it, when someone above said “Fuck you” – why do you think that phrase means what it does?

  38. Sam Berg March 29, 2012 at 2:51 PM #

    “My dog frequently tries to mount other dogs as an instinctive act of domination.”

    How do you know domination is your dog’s intent?

    You know because you perceive sex as an act of domination despite pathetic flounderings to the contrary.

  39. Bluecat March 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM #

    Alex: Er…male dogs “mount” female dogs for the purpose of copulation because it’s the most convenient sex position for animals. There is, after all, a reason why Kama Sutra For Canines never made it to the Amazon 100. It has nothing to do with dominance and everything to do with genitialia location and the limitations of quadrupedalism. It takes a patriarchy-minded human to turn the sex act into an exercise in domination/submission. You’ll never see a male dog grabbing the female’s ears with his teeth and giving them a tug, or growling into her ear (in doggie language, of course), “Take it, bitch!”

    Admittedly, this would be the only sexual context in which the word “bitch” could be used non-offensively.

    “I suppose a few sex-positive feminists might even agree with me…”

    No duh. “Sex positive feminism” is the very first rung on the ladder to social enlightenment. Sex positive feminists are still heavily in denial about the extent of their patriarchal indoctrination and many of them are even, gasp!, proponents of BDSM. They’re the kool-aid drinkers that have just begun to notice that the kool-aid tastes kind of bitter, but their solution is to add more sugar. The rest of us, patiently waiting for the sex pozzies to wake up all the fucking way, dumped that poisonous shit out long ago.

    92: Thank you, once again, for helping bolster the resolve of the feminists-recovering-from-porn-addiction. Whenever I find myself numbly taking up the chants of the porn cult (“It’s healthy sexual expression!” “Porn actors have agency!” “Objectifying others is human nature!”), I only have to return here for a crash course in reality. An eloquent, witty, perceptively razor sharp slap to the face that is sorely needed. In a non-BDSM kind of way, of course.

  40. Fede March 29, 2012 at 10:48 PM #

    It was only a question of time before Alex had to go, “the sex-positive feminists would agree with meeeeee.”

    Oh, dear. I don’t think either of the words “sex-positive” and “feminist” mean what you think they mean, Alex.

    I can tell you this much: I am anti-porn BECAUSE I am pro-sex.

    I am anti-porn because the commodification of people’s bodies is inherently evil. I am anti-porn because consent is what separates sex from rape, and consent-for-money is not consent.

    Alex is trying to suggest that porn is about consenting adults “filming their sexual interactions and selling it to people,” which is the most disingenuous definition he could have possibly come up with.

    Porn isn’t about a camera just happening to film a sex act that would have taken place anyway. Porn is about people being contractually obliged to turn up at a prearranged time and place – thus eliminating spontaneity, and with it any chance of genuine consent – and allow their bodies to be used in accordance with a script for the gratification of others. It has nothing to do with the natural, in-the-moment desires of the actors.

    Hence, porn is prostitution, and prostitution is commercial rape. So there’s that.

    To be precise, porn is prostitution with the added feature of a recording that serves to perpetuate the violation of the prostituted person(s) by making their rape accessible to an infinite number of complicit rapists for all foreseeable future. In effect making the violation never-ending.

    That’s what porn is. So don’t lie, Alex.

    And don’t make joking remarks about how people here shouldn’t “get all angry again.” Firstly, people got angry, not “all angry” which is a dismissive and disrespectful way of putting it. Secondly, the word “again” implies that there was a pause in our angered response to your douchebaggery, which is of course inaccurate. Since your level of douchebaggery has been constant, the aggravation caused has been equally so.

  41. isme March 30, 2012 at 12:23 AM #

    Alex, you have an opportunity here. You can, and most people in your situation do, dig yourself deeper, and confirm people’s opinion of you without realising how you are doing it.

    You can accept that they might be right about this, possibly because many of them have been active in this area for many years.

    You can even decide people are wrong about certain things, and not press the point because you aren’t going to make any headway. There are one or two things commentors have said in this thread that I disagree with, but I’m not going to turn this into another hundred post argument over it.

    What you are saying is not anything new to anyone here, we have all seen this over and over again with any number of seemingly identical people, each believing they are the first to bring up their points. It never, ever ends well.

  42. Murasaki March 30, 2012 at 4:12 AM #

    Its interesting that I’ve heard it said a few times most women can tell when they’re with a guy that consumes a lot of porn and I always assumed that was because they are crap at sex and seem to be trying to “poke” you more than connect with you. I think it might also be a dead giveaway when you try to take control, balance it, so that its an equal exchange…but he keeps trying to push you down and then pull away so its just him doing it to you and you rolling your eyes.

    I’m not sure Alex really understands what dominate means either. I think he is imagining bringing out the gimp or something. Its much more subtle than that.

  43. gracemargaret March 30, 2012 at 4:45 AM #

    Proof that we live in a gleefully rapist culture fueled by porn (like there isn’t enough) Belvedere Vodka just had an ad I unfortunately cannot unsee. Picture of a man with a leering grin on his face attacking a woman from behind who is in obvious shock and pain (they should have had a trigger warning, I am having a massive panic attack and want to puke my guts out right now) with the copy: “Unlike Some People, Belvedere Always Goes Down Smooth”.

    Consenting adults, you say? The actress said her image was used WITHOUT her permission and is suing for negligent infliction of emotional distress and misappropriation of her likeness. So they didn’t get her consent, a part of rapist culture, to promote rapist culture. They pulled the ad and are apologizing, but how did that ad manage to get approved?

    I avoid porn but that’s not enough anymore. Violence against women is celebrated everywhere.

  44. emilybites March 30, 2012 at 6:21 AM #

    ‘I love the little guy and his rape attempts’
    Here Alex gives us a perfect example of a rape joke, complete with admonition not to get so ANGRY, sheesh!

  45. lizor March 30, 2012 at 10:29 AM #

    I must admit I did not get past “You say people perceive the sexual act as an act of domination. I’ll admit that some people probably do and that that the argument does make sense in a way. ”

    Yeah Alex, “in a way”. Ever heard the term “got fucked over” or the myriad versions of that?? Not to mention the done-to-death use of anal penetration as a metaphor for domination and annihilation? How dare you waste space and other peoples time with this disingenuous horse shit. “OOOOh, gee, I guess you could maybe possibly say that Rush Limbaugh is disrespectful to women. In a way… but gee, I’m really not sure”.

    Thanks for selfishly taking a steaming intellectual crap right in the middle of one of my favourite web spaces. If you are going to breathe another word about this, I request that you go work as a bottom on a gonzo gay porn production. Once you have enjoyed three or four men penetrating you at once, calling you a piece of shit and coming in your face, then you can speak with some authority about penetration in porn not necessarily relating to domination. Otherwise, stuff your useless comments.

  46. Amira March 30, 2012 at 11:00 AM #

    Greetings from Scandinavia ND. I came to think about a recent news headline when reading this article… One of the worst sexual assaults in Swedish history is currently being rolled up over here. A group of 8 Afghan men are being charged for the gang rape of a woman at an asylum seeker-shelter. The victim, a mother of two, was abused and sexually molested to the degree that she ended up in a wheel chair, suffered faecal incontinence, and went into a state of semi-permanent shock and trauma.

    Some of the evidence against the men contains the finding of sperma from four or more of the men in the woman’s inner intestines. The degree of the crime is so horrendous that it has been named by Swedish newspapers as the gravest sexual crime in modern Swedish history.

    But wait a minute; let’s do a little math while we’re at it: doesn’t this somehow reminisce of us something? Aren’t 8 men jumping a woman a classic porn script? Thus one of the gravest crimes a nation has ever seen equals what’s normally found in mainstream porn. If that isn’t fucking (…) scary I don’t know what is…

  47. MissFit March 31, 2012 at 8:40 AM #

    Murasaki: ‘women can tell when they’re with a guy that consumes a lot of porn and I always assumed that was because they are crap at sex and seem to be trying to “poke” you more than connect with you.’

    So true. It has even become risky to do the ‘doggy style’ position because some of them think it is perfectly adequate to switch holes without warning and without even asking (personal experience talking here).

    99% of het porn is focused on men’s pleasure and women’s objectification. It is all about holes and sperm. If this is what sex is about, I’ll have sex only when I decide I want a child, and I’ll limit myself to the missionary position, thanks. One must not know a lot about the human female body and female sexual pleasure to think that porn has anything to do with liberating female sexuality. 99% of het porn is virtual clitoridectomy (I guess clitoral stimulation is too ‘vanilla’). And I do not care that 1% of porn could pass as being ‘female centered’. The problem is that the vast majority of porn is misogynist and that it is what boys are looking at. And that is what they think sex is about. And these are the boys that het girls will go out with.

    Amira: this story is horrific!!! And I will use cynisism here to express the little faith I have left regarding men’s morality: I bet there are some guys out there who are actually hoping the whole thing was videotaped and are searching for it on the net…

  48. Mike April 1, 2012 at 7:59 AM #

    I’ve been reading your blog for about two days and have come to the conclusion that if pornography was attacked from the left in mainstream media such as you’re doing and not from the right by sexist assholes like Rick Santorum, Morality in Media, The Media Research Center, Family Research Council, and the rest of the usual right wing suspects porn would not exist to the extent that it does now, nor would you have pro-porn and pro-prostitution feminists or “liberal dudes” defending it. Since it is though, porn gets political cover and defenders from the people that should most be attacking it because in reality it’s existence reflects the most venal parts of sexism and capitalism which the left attacks in other instances. Because of this the porn industry wins big and mainstream liberals, due to the nature of American politics, especially in 2102, are unable to make critical attacks on porn as they most likely don’t want to be seen as agreeing with social conservatives or at least on the surface anyway. To a larger extent though, and here’s the real double bind for the left on the porn issue, is they don’t want to be associated with either radical feminism or real attacks on capitalism as they continue to move center right. i

  49. Mike April 1, 2012 at 9:05 AM #

    I would even go on to say that porn is a political weapon that the left uses against the right when they oppose it to paint them as prudes, puritans, religious wacko’s, anti-free speech, authoritarian, etc. I really doubt porn producers ever thought they would receive such political cover by mainstream media.

    How did you feel about Sasha Grey reading to children or being on the View to defend herself?

  50. Mike April 1, 2012 at 9:15 AM #

    Grant it, the right wing argument against porn is not that it’s capitalist exploitation and reinforces the darkest aspects of patriarchy, and I guarantee that if you attacked it from that POV they would defend it, but rather just the typical fire and brimstone, Sodom and Gomorrah, slut shaming that they are known for and that they also apply toward homosexuality, bisexuality, or any kind of sexual practice that goes against their scripts. When they do this they are practically leading liberals like a bull to the arena to defend it and due to soundbyte culture a real lengthy discussion is impossible and we’re left with this argument instead of the more complex economic and labor related one. It’s unfortunate though and because of this larger left wing outlets like the Village Voice routinely defend the porn industry and prostitution and claim that statistics about sex trafficking in the porn industry and underage prostitutes are bogus.

  51. Mike April 1, 2012 at 9:41 AM #

    Last comment: What’s ironic is that if liberals and the left attacked the porn industry they would receive support from more working class people who should be on board for their economic ideas but instead move to the right due to the left’s attacks on what they perceive as traditional morality as embodied by pornography and pornographic culture in general. Perhaps the distinction is one of New Left vs. Old Left. The New Left as embodied by “me me” boomers and Hollywood are all about libertine sexuality and destroying what they perceive as puritanical cultural norms about pleasure whether through sex or drugs, (even when they are shoveling conservatives traditional sexist tropes so they show up to see their crappy films) and never really about economics, exploitation, etc. as Hollywood and it’s cousin the porn industry is one of the most exploitative industries on the planet perhaps second only to a third world sweatshop or brothel. The Old Left as embodied by trade unionists and other socialists never demeaned traditional morality or the family and hence why rank and file working class factory workers, truckers, and the rest could be counted on for support since the left was more in line with their economic interests. Post 1960’s libertinism essentially split the ideology and this was best symbolized by hard hats beating hippies during anti-war protests.

  52. Mike April 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM #

    Porn has become just another part of the culture war and a way for left/right to hammer each other from a surface, cultural perspective about free speech, moral chastity, etc. and not about exploitation in the labor force, patriarchal values, etc.

  53. karmarad April 1, 2012 at 4:56 PM #

    Thanks you very much for your courageous and brilliant work on this painful topic.

  54. karmarad April 1, 2012 at 4:56 PM #

    I mean “thank” of course, sorry.

  55. womononajourney April 3, 2012 at 3:47 AM #

    ND, your writing is brilliant and original. I look forward to reading more of your blog in my spare (!!!) time.

    I am glad you are addressing this topic of “prostitution is like all other work.” If you really want to compare prostitution to making sandwiches, then would you tell the guy working at subway, “your job is like prostitution; there are risks involved, but that comes with any job”? Substitute any profession in there, and see if you would tell the person to accept the risks, because, hey, it’s a job and being skullfucked is a job, too.

  56. womononajourney April 3, 2012 at 8:38 AM #

    @Fryehead, we now have more porn then ever, yet so-called “alternative” or “feminist” porn is nowhere in even the top 1,000 of popularly watched porn movies. (See ND’s post “Get on the fucking ball janitors” for more about “feminist” porn). As far as homemade porn, the porn industry is taking over that as well, since a lot of sites that say they are amateur porn, are actually produced and sponsored by the porn industry.

    In a male supremacist society, what type of porn is going to rise to the top? Just think about it.

    As far as the “men get hurt in porn” (especially gay male porn), yeah, they absolutely do. But why do men always have to get injured by something “too” in order for it to be considered a problem? Isn’t the fact that it negatively impacts ALL women, even those not in the sex trade, enough?

  57. liz April 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM #

    @ dope

    “The idea that the majority of pornography or the acts contained therein could ever possibly be conceived of as sexually liberating is viewed by most men as a joke (and I’m convinced that ‘dudes’ know the truth of this deep down).”

    Quoted for truth.

    Most men know they are repulsive. What an awful way to live. They are not fully alive. Resentful of females for their capability to experience life and joy, they irrationally seek revenge. Revenge is sex, marriage, “relationships,” children, the whole package. Deep down males laugh, watching females dance around in circles under their fabricated expectations trying to please males and their insatiable appetite for delicious female energy.

    @ Murasaki:

    “I think it might also be a dead giveaway when you try to take control, balance it, so that its an equal exchange…but he keeps trying to push you down and then pull away so its just him doing it to you and you rolling your eyes.”

    At the very end of my very last relationship with a man, I figured this out. I noticed that when I attempted to assert my body against his to create balance (instead of the usual imbalance of my submission and his dominance), he Would Not Give and the sexual interaction between us became impossible. It was a real eye opener.

  58. skeptifem April 5, 2012 at 12:01 AM #

    Dudes like alex are so disingenuous. I am sure he knows and understands phrases like “she needs a good fucking” or “I’m going to make ____ my bitch”. These are things discussed in movies all the time, like resevoir dogs (“did you see that? He tried to fuck me in my father’s office.” … “you keep talking like a bitch and I’ll fuck you like one”) . I don’t mean to pick out tarintino movies but they are what is coming to mind: “does marcellus wallace look like a bitch? Well then why are you trying to fuck him like one?” etc. This shit wouldn’t make *any* sense if penetration wasn’t seen as an act of dominance in society by the majority of people. Hell, an old school phrase for male rape is “he treated him as a woman”. What do you suppose that could mean?

    Special snowflakes like alex (who I strongly suspect is lying anyway) can not change the social construction of penetration simply by wanting to.

  59. lizor April 6, 2012 at 6:55 AM #

    One last note to alex re: penetration is not perceived as domination:

    Fuck you, alex.

    Of course, in your special world there would be no reason under the sun that this would be perceived as a dominating, aggressive or threatening assertion. You would have no reason to feel insulted and my intention is not to insult you. What’s kind of fun is that I can say “Fuck you alex, you little fuck face” and it is completely benign!

    It’s just everyone else in the world who would read that as an insult.

  60. m Andrea April 9, 2012 at 5:04 PM #

    the jobs for which women are paid more than men require both self-destruction and complicity in the propagation of misogyny.

    That, right there, thank you! And of course the rebuttle from the pro-pornies is that “hey pornography isn’t self-destruction”. They’re using a revolving excuse strategy. According to them, nothing a man could ever do sexually to a woman is inherently humilation or degrading. I can see their point — IF I were to assume that their implicit assertion was also true: that women are different from men and exist on a lower plane of humanity and therefore don’t require the same level of humanization as men.

    They’re using a circular argument. Hey this situation X can’t be classified as degrading because Black people don’t need to be treated like white folks.

    When somebody responds with “aw but Black folks DO need to be treated like white folks”, the pro-pornie says, “But they’re BLACK!! They don’t need the same things!!!!!!!” It’s circular…

    So. I would ask the pro-pornie why he thinks women don’t need the same degree of respect (autonomy, dignity etc) that men require? That is the question where I would start the conversation, and I would stick to that question like a fucking bulldog until he actually ANSWERED IT. Because as soon as he admits that women and men do need the same level of respect, dignity etc, then his entire argument falls apart.

    Which is why some of them will revolve their excuse to “oh gee every job is crappy”. Except flipping burgers is not exactly like fucking a horse for a living, and they know this. Even men can’t be this dumb. These guys are just defective human beings with zero empathy, out for their own pleasure no matter who else is harmed, and frankly at soon as sociologists develope an accurate test to identify psychopaths, I hope society will decide to burn them all at the stake.

  61. JD April 10, 2012 at 5:34 AM #

    I just wanted to say thank you. I found your website after being blindsided with my husband’s porn addiction and trying to keep distracted long enough to stop dry heaving. I have never experienced these emotions or been allowed to rather, and reading through this series has been greatly therapeutic. You gave words to emotions that I was choking on. The words made me feel like its not my fault and that I have not ruined our sex life to the point where he needs porn. If you ever publish this, I will buy it regardless of price and of having read it before for free. I will distribute it to every teenage girl I lay eyes on. And I will fell a little bit better that there was some sound thought put to the things that make sex a chore instead of a joy. Thank you again. You may have just saved my life.

  62. Fede April 10, 2012 at 10:00 PM #

    m Andrea – Amen!

  63. m Andrea April 12, 2012 at 11:06 AM #

    Thanks Fede! I don’t know if anybody’s said this already, but here’s another thought:

    For decades misogynists have claimed that their access to women’s bodies was an IMPLICIT obligation of ANY job held by a woman — that’s why the sexual harassment laws were passed in the first place!

    So IF it were true that prostitution is “just another job” AND IF it were also true that “demanding sexual relations on the job = harassment” then those two concepts are incompatible with each other. One of those concepts would invalidate the other.

    Prostitution could never be “just another job” because hey expecting sex from an employee or contract worker is automatically sexual harrassment — regardless if any reward or punishment is given to the employee or contract worker in exchange for sex. So at best prostitution would have to be a special snowflake exemption; yet the reason for prostitution’s existence is still: hey men assume they are entitled to a special class of woman to be set aside expressly in order to satisify their temporary desire. It’s clearly a domination mentality wherein either a special group women are supposed to exist as a less deserving class, OR, all women are suposed to exist as a less deserving class.

    There is literally no way prostitution can be justified by a society which is focused on genuine fairness, and I stand by my ealier comment: Those psychopaths who advocate for special classes of human, should be physically removed from society.

  64. Norm April 13, 2012 at 9:31 AM #

    I feel like I must explain that I most certainly do not condone the mistreatment of these women (and to a lesser extent men) in this industry and agree 100% that porn sets should have to follow the same work enviornment laws that any other profession does.

    I think it’s unrealistic to think that porn will just go away like many on this blog would hope. If there is a demand for a product people will find a way to get it no matter what the cost.

    But, back to my orgional point, I don’t think porn is inherently a men vs women issue. When it comes to the creation and production of porn it certainly is and it’s frankly awful. But on the consumer side, It’s men AND women that are the issue.

    Hustler videos reports that 56% of it’s sales are to women, and in the United States it’s reported that between 66% and 76% of women use porn at least once a month. On top of that 1/3rd of online porn traffic worldwide comes from women.

    I think a large reason that you don’t hear as much of a cry over womens rights in porn is because alot of people don’t know or just view pornstarts as drug addicted sluts (yes, even women) even though in many casses that’s not the truth. But honestly even if more people knew I’m not sure people would care. Here, let me give an example.

    Think about where your computer was made, or your shoes or a toy or almost anything made in an east Asian country. It was probably made by a group of children (or in some cases women) in a factory where they are considered worse than animals, machines. But not because they hate women in children, but because they have smaller fingers that are better suited to the task at hand. Machines that are called by numbers instead of names and that when they get hurt are simply removed and replaced. Machines that work for less money a week than most teenages in the western world make in a day while being exposed to harmful chemicals.

    People know this. People don’t care because it doesn’t directly impact their own life. This kind of behavior wouldn’t be allowed in porn if more people carred, But most men and women either don’t know or don’t care.

    I don’t view porn as a gender issue, but a compasion issue.

    • Heretic July 8, 2014 at 3:07 AM #

      “because they have smaller fingers that are better suited to the task at hand.” I disagree that it’s not because they hate women and children (hence pay them less, have them work in horrible conditions, etc.), since in the same way, women in porn are thought to be “better suited” to acts of penetration, gangbangs, anal sex and so on. It was probably the same reasoning behind child labor. Taken further, if women and children’s tiny fingers were so well-suited to surgeries, we’d have predominantly female and child surgeons. So this analogy does not disprove the gendered issues of porn.

    • lizor July 22, 2014 at 6:27 AM #

      “Think about where your computer was made, or your shoes or a toy or almost anything made in an east Asian country. It was probably made by a group of children (or in some cases women) in a factory where they are considered worse than animals, machines. But not because they hate women in children, but because they have smaller fingers that are better suited to the task at hand. ”
      Here’s a thought: why don’t you do a tiny, weeny bit of research before you make hollow comparisons to deny the fact of gender exploitation, Norm? Your Made-in-China computer was most likely made by a young woman and the reason for that is systemic misogyny which allows companies like Foxconn to maximize profits through a cheap/disposable female labour force.
      Here’s a solid source:
      https://www.dukeupress.edu/Made-in-China/index-viewby=subject&categoryid=27&sort=newest.html
      Isn’t it cool that there are so many Ladeez out there in the world to do mundane tasks for you like helping you to know what the fuck you’re talking about?

  65. Alphbet April 13, 2012 at 4:14 PM #

    Can I just say that this is one of the most refreshing blogs I’ve ever come across? I’m 19 and feel like I’m drowning in a world full of sexism that isn’t going away and in fact, seems to be creeping into places where it shouldn’t be. It’s such a nice break to see feminism tht actually feels like feminism again and not just the sex positive bullshit.

    You hit the nail on the head every time with this blog and are able to put into words all the things of been thinking for so long but didn’t know how to express. Thank you for making me realise that I’m not crazy for having a problem with porn and prostituion and all the other things that are supposed to be “ok” and “empowering” now because some women choose them.

    Thank you so much.

  66. isme April 14, 2012 at 9:53 AM #

    Norm, I think the comparison with the computer nicely explains why people don’t care (I’ve made similar ones before), however, exploitation is not necessary in making computers. Exploitation of people (almost always women) is the sole purpose of a great deal of porn, though.

    If that were removed…I wouldn’t say the problem would disappear, but it’d be a massive improvement. It wouldn’t be a gender issue (so much) in that case, but to say it’s not at the moment is, I feel, rather ingenuous. The people being hurt [i]just happen[/i] to be almost extensively women, in ways primarily for the enjoyment of men. Women are a large part of the audience, but like mainstream TV and movies, if women will content themselves with the stuff made for men because there’s nothing else, and men won’t accept anything else, it’s clear where the money is to be made.

    The gender dynamics (and, for that matter, other power dynamics) in porn reflect serious social problems, not unintentionally. Personally I’d say this is because of the doublethink about sex/porn, everyone is supposed to be obsessed with it, but nobody is supposed to feel too confident about admitting to it. So, when it comes to porn, people already feel they are doing something dirty, may as well break a few more societal rules and indulge in a few prejudices while they are at it. That’s just my feeling, though, I can’t say for sure how big of a factor it is.

  67. Fede April 15, 2012 at 1:55 PM #

    I think it’s unrealistic to think that porn will just go away like many on this blog would hope. If there is a demand for a product people will find a way to get it no matter what the cost.

    I disagree. The demand for the product is the creation of the industry. It can be undone; what is needed is a general change in attitude.

    Example: the general attitude towards tobacco and smoking was vastly different 50 years ago – hell, 20 years ago. Back then, it was more or less considered a human right to smoke anywhere you pleased; anyone suggesting the kinds of regulations we now have against smoking in public places would have been laughed out of court back then. But attitudes change, and now there is more focus on non-smokers’ rights to be free from second-hand smoke.

    In the case of porn and (other) prostitution, the principle is no different.

    As we have seen in Sweden, making it illegal to buy sex has resulted not in prostitution going underground (as one would expect if the demand was immutable), but in an attitude change that has meant a tremendous reduction in the sex trade, with even larger cities now having few problems with prostitution.

    So we need to change people’s minds. Do we do that with legislation? Perhaps; perhaps not. That bit would be up for discussion. But saying that demand can never be curbed, that is the wrong kind of attitude to bring to the table, bru.

  68. supasaiyen April 15, 2012 at 5:48 PM #

    Norm needs a reality check

  69. Norm April 15, 2012 at 9:52 PM #

    Isme, you make some very good points but I must say I do disagree with some of what you said.

    “Exploitation of people (almost always women) is the sole purpose of a great deal of porn, though.”

    I think that in certain types of fetish porn (S&M, bondage, ect) that what you said is true. But that in most “regular” porn that it’s untrue. I think that porn is usually about taking a normally regular situation and making it sexual.

    “Women are a large part of the audience, but like mainstream TV and movies, if women will content themselves with the stuff made for men because there’s nothing else, and men won’t accept anything else, it’s clear where the money is to be made.”

    I also disagree because I think that there are alot of shows and movies geared towards women. Also, studies have shown that men and women both find similar types of porn exciting.

    I have nothing for the last paragraph haha. Im alot of ways it’s dead on.

  70. Norm April 15, 2012 at 10:05 PM #

    Fede, You’re right it isn’t impossible but is unlikely as it seems to be growing rather than shrinking.

    Now, I personally view both smoking and porn as failings in our society. They are not by any means on the same scale. 18% of all deaths in the United States are smoking related deaths. I find it hard to believe that porn will ever be viewed in a similar light.

  71. Norm April 15, 2012 at 10:11 PM #

    Supasaiyen, If you would like to point out the things I said that you take issue with I would be home than happy to address them.

    on a side note, kudos for the DBZ name.

  72. Jack April 16, 2012 at 12:09 AM #

    @Fede

    It’s illegal to buy sex in the US too but that hasn’t changed the demand for it at all. In fact it seems that the high demand for it along with the social and legal problems associated with making it illegal is pushing some states to rethink their prohibition on prostitution. Same with drugs. All the social engineering has not decreased the publics appetite for dope and much like the case with prostitution the demand along with the social and legal problems associated with prohibition are pushing states to rethink the issue. The state should have absolutely no say in whether or not an individual wants to sell their body to another individual. It’s a major invasion of privacy and personal space. Im not sure what all the griping here is even about? People are free to do as they please and everyone is afforded the same rights. There is not some alien force directing things like most Marxists want to believe. Furthermore their solutions, to change equality of opportunity to equality of outcome will make social life far worse.

  73. Norm April 16, 2012 at 9:01 PM #

    Easy there Jack. It would appear that your ignorance expands far past the womens rights debate. I would quietly bow out now if I were you.

  74. supasaiyen April 17, 2012 at 1:04 AM #

    I’m probably just wasting my time but here http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2008/04/23/pornpart6/ Women aren’t responsible for there own oppression.

  75. isme April 17, 2012 at 5:11 AM #

    “I think that in certain types of fetish porn (S&M, bondage, ect) that what you said is true. But that in most “regular” porn that it’s untrue. I think that porn is usually about taking a normally regular situation and making it sexual.”

    Possibly, I’ve no way of really telling what things are most common, but it does seem to me that “regular” porn is getting more extreme, and other things are becoming more mainstream.

    “I also disagree because I think that there are alot of shows and movies geared towards women. Also, studies have shown that men and women both find similar types of porn exciting.”

    A lot, yes, but it’s still very male dominated. I don’t know about how men and women view porn…then again, where would you find something you can trust? Issues like this, the information seems drowned out by misinformation.

  76. Fede April 17, 2012 at 5:56 PM #

    @Norm

    Now, I personally view both smoking and porn as failings in our society. They are not by any means on the same scale.

    They’re not on the same scale, all right: on the one hand, there’s burning tobacco and damaging your lungs with it, on the other hand, there’s treating other people like meat socks. The reason why those two societal failings are not on the same scale is that one of them is hateful. And if you think the normalisation of giving people meat sock status is not lethal, I would have to disagree.

    @Jack: you are correct that in the US, criminalisation has not changed the demand. That would be because there has been absolutely zero attempt to combine legislation with educational campaigns and with socieaty-wide, informed debate on the issue. Like I said, we need to change minds before the problem of sexual exploitation can be properly addressed.

    Look at Amsterdam, where prostitution is legal for both seller and buyer. If Dutch prostitution is so wonderful, why does it attract so few Dutch women as sellers of sexual favours? 75% of sex workers in the Netherlands, many of them children, many of them trafficked, are migrants from Thailand, China, Nigeria, and Eastern Europe. I think it’s very telling that you want to protect the rights of the individual to sell their body, while I want to protect the rights of the individual to have viable alternatives to selling their body.

    As for alien forces and Marxism, I wish you would just stay on topic (and perhaps off drugs?)

  77. Hecate April 17, 2012 at 10:04 PM #

    Really good point, Fede. I’d have no problem if men suddenly started raping and abusing themselves, though they may need to get therapy at some point. Hatred of the other is pretty much what the patriarchy is based on, after all. That is the issue.

    I still wonder today how much better my life would have been if only the two members of my family who sexually abused me simply turned that hatred on themselves. To be sure, better guardians would have had to be appointed for my care in that case as well, but I really could have lived with that – truly. It’s a shame the one remaining one doesn’t off herself… Sadly, she still lives on.

    Great point about Amsterdam as well. Of course it’s telling that local women won’t do it. It was exactly the same scenario in San Francisco when I lived there. Only poor, trafficked girls worked in the massage parlors. I suspect it may likely be the same here in Portland where I now reside.

  78. Hecate April 17, 2012 at 10:11 PM #

    Really good point, Fede. We wouldn’t even be discussing this issue if men turned all their hatred inward and suddenly started raping and abusing themselves. But of course that’s unlikely to happen, as the patriarchy pretty much has its roots in hatred of the other.

    Such a shame the two members of my family who sexually abused me didn’t off themselves. I can just imagine how different my life would have been… Evil people should use their right to inflict self harm a LOT more often.

    So true about Amsterdam as well. Why would the local women do it? It’s the same scenario in San Francisco, where only young, trafficked girls work in the massage parlors. Heck, it may even be the same here in Portland, where I now reside.

  79. Norm April 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM #

    isme,The article I have been sourcing is an article by CNN and is written by a women whos pen name is Violet Blue. In the article she cites a 2006 study by MgGill university that showed that both men and women became equally aroused when showed clips of porn.

    Interestingly she also talks about how women are torn when watching porn because society (both christian groups and feminist groups) tell women it’s not okay for them to enjoy porn. and about how the increase in women both behind the scenes and in the audience has begun to change they type of porn that is being made to be more women friendly.

    I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to post the link but if I can I will. I recomend reading it as I find that it allows for better insight into this argument than just hearing one side.

  80. Bluecat April 18, 2012 at 3:37 AM #

    Norm:

    I’ve seen enough “regular” porn to speak with some degree of authority on the subject (understatement there; I’ve seen pretty much everything the internetz has to offer), and I can confidently state that any person who doesn’t find “regular” porn degrading to women has been desensitized to misogyny to the extent that they’ve lost a significant proportion of their humanity. If you can honestly sit there and say, “Gee, I don’t see the problem”, you *are* the problem. Part of it, anyway. You’ve been brainwashed into interpreting the graphic dehumanization of women as a natural and benign occurence. Get thee to Feminism 101, stat, shut off the porn, read some Robert Jensen, and maybe there’s a chance you’ll regain some of that lost humanity.

    As for women liking the same kind of porn men like, well, I’d be interested in seeing these studies you’ve mentioned (I sincerely hope you aren’t relying on those great deceivers personal experience and/or anecdotal data to back your claim). Which isn’t to say I don’t buy it. I became a fan of hardcore porn through the gradual repression of *my* humanity — remarkable, really, how repetitive exposure causes that desensitization to happen without your knowledge or consent — and female porn fans will never admit it, it’s likely they don’t even realize it, but they aren’t fans because they’re OK with female degradation. They’re fans of mainstream porn because our misogyny saturated culture makes it possible to ease women into accepting more extreme representations of misogyny, sometimes with a little coaxing, and sometimes with none at all. Because we’re all visual creatures, some more than others (and the shape of your genitals has nothing to do with it), and sometimes you take what you can get.

    None of us start out thinking it’s OK, but with repeated exposure, and repeated affirmations that it can’t possibly be a bad thing because so many decent people like it, we succumb to the mindless pleasure of watching people fucking. That’s why it’s so easy to put your intellect and your conscience aside and give yourself over to it. It’s a hell of a lot of fun if you shut off your superego and let your id take the reins. The problem is that there are real world consequences to porn consumption for everyone involved: consumers, actors, the general public. *Everyone* suffers because of it. The breadth and scope of those consequences isn’t something mindless porn consumers can even begin to grasp. And once you know better, you must do better.

    You can deny it, you can deny everything, but I know you know, on some level, that what’s been said here is true.

  81. Missfit April 18, 2012 at 11:09 AM #

    Norm: ‘Think about where your computer was made, or your shoes or a toy or almost anything made in an east Asian country. (…) People don’t care because it doesn’t directly impact their own life.’

    I think ND already made the argument that watching porn is more than buying a product that you know has probably been made by exploited children abroad. It is more like actually looking at the images of the children being exploited and taking pleasure in that sight. Even if the children smile for the camera, you know that they can’t be truly happy with their condition, you know it because you are a human being. So either you try to swallow the lie that they really enjoy what they are doing (some say so and the reasons why they do are too long to explain here and ND already did a post on that) and continue enjoying your pleasure guilt-free, either you enjoy knowing that they don’t because you are a sadist, or you don’t bother because you do not view them as full human beings.

    ‘I think that porn is usually about taking a normally regular situation and making it sexual.’

    Making it sexual… yes, because porn is sex and sex is porn.

    People are saying that porn is very diverse but it is instead very limited as it mainly plays on 2 themes: men’s POV and women’s objectification.

    I long for the day when women will step out of this male identification and eroticisation of self-objectification and realize that sex has more to offer to women so a real sexual revolution can finally happen.

  82. Hecate April 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM #

    Ah yes, Violet Blue. I’m sure ND would just love to have her retro San Fran butt on here too, telling us why we should all support kink.com. You know that’s all just a big, stupid front, right? Sure, it’s considered cool there, for whatever reason, to casually mention to your friends that you’d be into some S&M, a threesome or an open relationship or two. But having lived there for over a decade, I can tell you they are more into being up on Apple’s latest stock price, than anything else. Still sound sexeh to you?

    I’m pretty sure the ‘sex scene’ in SF is more a gimmick to get into tourist’s wallets. And really, there are less expensive places to visit during a recession. Even if Violet Blue is starring in a gang bang.

  83. skeptifem April 20, 2012 at 4:28 AM #

    who the fuck cares if women outside of porn like pornography? I am sure a lot of chinese women thought their feet looked pretty bound up in lotus shoes too. It doesn’t make foot binding or porn or boob implants or anything else benign or above criticism when women like it “too”, despite not being the primary audience. This also completely ignores how much social approval a woman can get from men for liking things that most women do not. It is an easy ticket to social acceptance, something many women with low/no self esteem latch on to with enthusiasm.

    The women who are IN THE PORNOGRAPHY should always be the primary consideration. These women are infected with diseases for money. And people masturbate to that. Even if you can ignore every other problem with the industry (like consent for money, the overlap with prostitution, reports from ex-workers about how the industry works, drug problems, the high rate of suicide, etc) you cannot ignore that porn performers are treated as sub human in terms of disease prevention. The fans demand acts that cause diseases, diseases that real people have to live with (many for the rest of their lives). I remember listening to love line on night long ago, a girl calling in had done one pornography movie and contracted 3 diseases. 2 were not curable (herpes and HPV). She was in a porn movie where theme was ejaculation into a woman’s eyes, an obviously unpleasant experience. There are women walking around with sexually transmitted infections in their eyes, for life, who were only paid a few hundred dollars for the privilege. I am sure the porn companies make them sign away any liability for exposing workers to diseases for the sexual pleasure of other men.

    re: “regular” porn. Robert jensen, and many others, use the most popular rentals as fodder for their studies on how much aggression/discomfort is in pornography. Turns out there is a lot. If you are really making this argument it is probably because you have climaxed to this material so many times that you have a hard time examining it objectively. Try to just imagine what the woman in the movie is going through, what it must be like to be her during the movie and after the camera shuts off. It takes empathy and a tiny bit of imaginination, but I am sure most people can accomplish this.

  84. lizor April 23, 2012 at 2:25 PM #

    @ Missfit: “People are saying that porn is very diverse but it is instead very limited as it mainly plays on 2 themes: men’s POV and women’s objectification.

    I long for the day when women will step out of this male identification and eroticisation of self-objectification and realize that sex has more to offer to women so a real sexual revolution can finally happen.”

    Yes. Thank you. I had a university professor actually lecture me on the rich history of pornography (“It has always existed”) and the wonderful diversity therein. Now all I can see when I look at him is him wanking away at his laptop.

    It makes me crazy when people say anti-porn is anti-sex, or conflate porn with sex. I am against pornography because I love sex, I love and respect my body and those two things are essential to my life. Porn is an anti-sex cancer and is the toxic byproduct of an extremely repressed and disembodied culture.

    @skeptifem. Thanks for your great point about the social rewards of being “one of the boys”. All sorts of crumbs trickle down from the feast if you are a good sport.

  85. lizor April 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM #

    Has anyone seen this?

  86. Hecate April 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM #

    They make some good points. It’s admirable that they are doing their best to have an open dialogue with their partners. But I think that a lot falls on the shoulders of a sex worker where societal perception concerned, no matter how emotionally stable or mature he or she may be. The part of the equation that’s always missing is who the johns are and what motivations they bring to the dynamic. Some sex workers see judges, policemen, politicians, you name it. To me, that’s too much of a secret to harbor. Again, all is being put on the women to keep quiet and be ‘good,’ so that the so-called male pillars of society can continue misleading everyone. This comes to mind especially in light of the US secret service scandal, in which one of the prostitutes was not paid by one of the officers involved. Hard to think of anything more unequal than that. There’s simply no justification for someone given that much power to do such a thing.

    I feel like women are always a little too understanding of a very fucked up system. I get that they may be too scared to ask the real questions or see the salient points of the argument. The ‘sex positive’ idea still presents a problem to me, especially for those sex workers who may not have been raised with any kind of privilege. Take an urban sex worker resorting to survival sex as her only means of paying rent versus one in the suburbs with more resources who just does it occasionally and perhaps perceives it to be a ‘thrill.’ They’re going to have very different ideas, and the woman from the city would be beyond irked if say, the suburban one were to suggest she try to ‘enjoy it’ more often. Wherever they fall on the spectrum also doesn’t matter in a way, because women still do not receive equal pay for equal work in ‘straight’ professions, and therefore it will be tough to really see sex work as a ‘choice’ until they do. Because of this, it is still more accurate to say that a woman entering that world for whatever reason is in prostitution.

  87. Cody May 1, 2012 at 1:48 PM #

    You made me stop watching porn. I had no idea what it did to women. Thank you.

  88. M May 2, 2012 at 9:01 AM #

    Violet Blue encourages (gloats even) about rad fems being doc dropped on her blog and also encourages all her porn sick followers to harrass them (on their rad fem blog or YouTube account). She’s a prime example of how women internalize misogyny to be “down” with the menz and like porn.

  89. M May 2, 2012 at 8:46 PM #

    Ah yeah, Norm – the fact that women get arroused by porn means jack shit, reminds me of the ppl who try to use that reasoning to claim women enjoy being raped (ND did a good Article on this a year + ago). You ever see how beautiful the sky looks when a tornado is forming?
    When I do lat pull-downs, I reach climax – it’s unwanted. As a little girl b4 I knew what an orgasm was, I would climax climbing swingset poles and the gym rope. Ppl always wondered why I had to rest half-way up, lol. The point is – not all sexual arrousal is wanted. It doesn’t necessarily signify anything at all about sexuality.

  90. Hecate May 2, 2012 at 11:15 PM #

    Yeah, I’m not sure what the Violet Blue thing is all about. That whole Suicide Girl/ Bettie Page/ Naughty Secretary thing was over a while ago. Yawn! And girlies like her love to make women feel like they aren’t very sexual beings if they’re not announcing their latest escapades to the whole world every minute. There’s something deeply insecure and childish about that attitude. I’m sure there are a lot fewer women needing her ‘sex tips’ than she imagines. There is one relationship/ sex advice columnist, Dan Savage, who I think does sometimes have some interesting and fun commentary to offer. And he’s involved in gay/lgbt activism that will very likely make a difference.

  91. eva May 3, 2012 at 5:29 AM #

    Just wanted to say that as an older woman and a long-time third wave feminist, it heartens me to discover your blog. I find all your posts spot on and rather academically rigorous, and infused with good judgement and humour. Glad to know someone like you is in the world.

  92. ChaosRocket May 14, 2012 at 11:42 AM #

    I know most of the people reading here already know this, but I just wanted to make it known. Being a sex worker is awful and horrible and degrading. It’s destroyed me. I’ve flipped burgers before, and that was kind or degrading too, but it’s nowhere near on the same level.

    I’ve always had the physical disability of endometriosis (which still isn’t a dictionary word, apparently, my spell check always says it’s wrong no matter what!) but I was still able to work part time and support myself. But then, due sexual harassment and bullying, I developed severe agoraphobia to the point where I’m now terrified to leave the house, and being a “cam girl” was all I could do to make enough money to live. I’m a subsistence sex worker. And maybe it would be OK if there was no misogyny in the world. But there is
    misogyny, so most of the men think that because I’m a stripper, they can insult me and degrade me and harass me and treat me as a sub-human. A lot of them just start insulting me the instant they come in, calling me slut, whore, bitch, ugly, fat- I’m a size 3!

    Because there’s misogyny, most of the men treat me like I’m not even human. And that’s why it’s so horrible and mentally damaging to be a sex worker. Every other cam girl I know tells these same stories. And most of them are like me, abused or molested as children. It’s not just another job. I really wish men could realize that.

    I’m not sure if they’d listen. I actually explained all that to one guy, once, when he was talking to me and being friendly, and he said he hadn’t known and that he’d never go to a stripper again and that he’d never be back. I haven’t seen him since. So is there hope? Do some males care?

  93. Hecate May 14, 2012 at 3:20 PM #

    So sorry to hear your story, ChaosRocket. I think sex workers take the brunt of everyone’s frustrations, including those of so-called ‘civilian’ women, unfortunately. They are literally targeted as the source of misery in the world and I think it is unconscionable the way they are scapegoated. It’s all just very cowardly. No one ever wants to confront the real root of social problems.

    I’ve mentioned here before that my mother knew I was being sexually abused by my grandfather. And not only did she not have sympathy or protect me from him, she mocked me. I was only eleven years old, and did not deserve in the slightest the awful remarks she made about me or her physical, sexual and emotional abuse. She once said I ‘looked pregnant’ when I still had some baby fat on me. So basically she was saying that I was enjoying the abuse to the extent that I was trying to get pregnant. I’m not sure how victims of this particular type of abuse survive at all. But I am determined that the perpetrators be exposed as the bullies and sickos they truly are.

  94. ChaosRocket May 16, 2012 at 4:31 AM #

    I’m sorry to hear your story, too. It’s so upsetting to hear about women who take the side of the sexual abusers, especially when they take the side of a sexual abuser over their own child.

  95. Hecate May 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM #

    Thank you, ChaosRocket. It’s such a lifesaver for me to be able to come here and discuss these issues with women who have undergone similar experiences. I do wonder how abusive people live with themselves. They tend to get very puffed up and self righteous when they get away with it, as my mother still is. I guess they have to keep telling themselves that they were/ are in the right, or they would crumble…

  96. D May 17, 2012 at 11:06 AM #

    I just want to say that I’m male, and I want to thank you for your blog. I’d go so far as to call it a ministry.

    Now before you get all appreciative on me, understand that my appreciation for your writings is shallwesay statistically improbable. I have been married for seven years. As my situation is arguably rather specific and unique, I can’t divulge too much, but suffice it to say I am a PhD-educated scholar *and* a progressive who identifies with the (what in a healthier country would be an actual rather than merely imagined) left wing of the democratic party *and* a member of a reserve component of the military which I feel quite certain you’d vocally abhor (and I’d likely understand your reasons) *and* a vegetarian who’s read (and been profoundly influenced by) Carol Adams’ work on the connection between carnivorism and patriarchy *and* I am a very strong theist who tries hard — not hard enough — to follow Christ in his heart –*and*

    — and this is the really big Bosendorfer through the tatami-thin ceiling —

    a self-identified Dominant who has been in a D/s relationship…

    with a woman who identifies as a submissive…

    (pulling your hair out yet?)

    (ok ’cause here comes the part that I think may make you feel perhaps a smidge of restored faith in humanity so bear with me)

    …BUT

    I have fucking HAD IT with the sheer statistics. I do consider myself a feminist. Perhaps not as profoundly educated and developed one as many of you doubtless are (and I use these adjectives snarklessly and with eyes trained on yours). And I am so tired of seeing the ubiquitous tale retold time and again — male Dom hurts female sub, male Dom hurts female sub, male Dom hurts female sub.

    I still have strong drives not so much to control (I am admittedly a rather tame specimen with nary a sadistic streak) but to be TRUSTED with such control. Please read that one more time.

    It isn’t so much the control ipse as it is the trust that enables and (maybe, somehow) ennobles such control.

    I’m going to level with you. Sometimes you let your anger cart your point off into the offing and you lose your train of thought (not because you’re female but because you’re human and are PISSED and OUTRAGED at what you [I think correctly] perceive to be egregious examples of human cruelty and selfishness) … and sometimes I think you’re using your rapier wit and verbal dexterity to kick those (men frequently) who are hardly your intellectual equals.

    But it’s time I said it.

    You’re right. Your position.

    It’s correct.

    My conscience is never wrong, and I’m really in doubt about my own sexual urges now. I hate the cruel porn industry — but what of self-porn, like r/gonewild, etc? Victimless?

    It was YOUR blog that made me see that for so long seeing a nude woman was an issue of conquest. Dworkin would probably make the claim that it’s at least qualitatively akin to rape.

    Look, I’ve gone on far too long. I sincerely want to thank you for letting me unburden my heart on this matter. You’ve been a real beam of light for me, from an unexpected quadrant of the universe…

    …and I can see through your bitter anger what really motivates you: your care for women, your humanity.

    I truly admire that.

    Now to talk to my wife about equality and what I’ve *really* been after all this time — profound trust, true intimacy, and authenticity.

    Sleep well tonight knowing that one man who just finished his semester somewhere probably far away, has had his own complicity in sin unveiled — apocalypsed — revealed — by your passionate words.

    -D

  97. Jess6113 May 17, 2012 at 4:34 PM #

    I looked into where that video is from and it is from a site of a woman who turned from porn star back to Jesus and now her and her husband are making money off this. (The husband who “saved” her.)

    When feminists join hands with conservative Christians who want to limit a woman’s choice in many matters – I draw the line.

    I do agree with regulating the porn industry. Not the other bullshit on Shelley Lubben’s site.

    • Nine Deuce May 18, 2012 at 3:59 PM #

      Agreed, Jess. I have a lot of problems with Lubben, but this video is the only one of its kind that I know of.

  98. No Sugarcoating May 19, 2012 at 2:36 AM #

    @D

    Obviously I’m not 9D, but…

    When you say self-porn, do you mean (allegedly) amateur porn that is uploaded to the internet or a sex tape you made of your significant other and yourself that you then watch? If it’s the latter, there’s no conceivable problem as long as your SO was aware and wanted to have your sexual escapades taped. If there’s some less than egalitarian stuff in there, there could potentially be a problem in disseminating that tape on the internet. Even if your relationship is one genuinely couched in mutual desire (I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for a minute), what other men take away from watching it could be problematic.

  99. lizor May 19, 2012 at 8:47 AM #

    Interesting that both she and Linda (“Lovelace”) Boreman both leapt to Christianity after porn. I wonder if this is because porn is so dependent on Judeo-Christian shame and subjugation of the body that those traumatized by the industry will often default to the other face of the construct? I wonder how many other people have gone this route?

  100. Hecate May 19, 2012 at 11:35 AM #

    I probably posted a link to this interview with Noam Chomsky before, but I think it’s a good one:

  101. Hecate May 19, 2012 at 4:19 PM #

    Yes, I’ve often seen that connection, lizor. I had the burden, as many do, of having had a strict religious upbringing. Seventh Day Adventist, to be precise. Though I was only stuck in that ‘cult’ until the age of twelve, the damage had been done. I heard that Prince may have been involved with them as well (which would explain a lot things!). I have always been a fan, in spite of his wildly mixed messages. Apparently, Denise Katrina Matthews, who he collaborated with and dated, became a born-again Christian. It’s likely that she had some of the same confusion he did around bodily shame/religion/sex. In her case, I think she just gave herself a good scare and went the opposite direction. It is kind of an extreme reaction. Prince himself appears to be a strict Jehovah’s Witness now.

    I think I’ve worked through religion-induced shame for the most part. But it does present challenges from time to time. It irks me that most folk seem less offended when it comes to instances of pedophilia in the church than they do when being confronted with perfectly normal, consensual adult couplings and activities. God forbid we should express ourselves in a more healthy, balanced and open manner.

  102. skeptifem May 22, 2012 at 6:53 AM #

    jess6113- If you read the testimonials from her group, the pink cross, you will find that not everyone who quit porn and joined up is religious. One of the testimonials I read said something like “I like shelly because she doesn’t push her beliefs on everyone.” The problems that lubbens points out regarding leaving porn are very difficult to overcome without some kind of help (especially finding work and living a normal lifestyle), and she provides help to seemingly anyone who asks for it.

    I think that the religious needs of ex-porn workers are probably comparable to the rest of society, and it is unfair that people wo leave porn and want religion have virtually no where to go. pink cross offers that to them, as an additional service. Strictly secular groups for ex-prostitutes exist (like GEMS), and hopefully eventually secular ex porn worker groups will too. You could try to start one.

  103. lizor May 23, 2012 at 9:32 AM #

    @hecate,

    I know that the Christian shame that infused my house left a lot of psychological residue that I needed to work through, especially body-loathing and shame that did manifest sexually. (DUH) Don’t start me on the twisted morality of Patriarchal faith. It’s a soul-bender.

    @Skeptifem. Thanks for that clarification. You make a great deal of sense to me.

    One more point. If prostitution is a regular job like any other under capitalism, why do so few of the customers identify themselves? I don’t see anyone hiding the fact that they just had a burger, yet the vast majority of johns will not publicly admit to purchasing this service.

  104. Hecate May 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM #

    That’s an excellent point, lizor. Would that we could force johns to wear stick-on labels announcing they’ve used a prostituted woman. The opposite of those ‘I just voted’ stickers…

  105. lizor May 24, 2012 at 6:07 AM #

    @Hecate: :)!!!

  106. Hecate May 24, 2012 at 12:10 PM #

    ;)

  107. Isa May 25, 2012 at 11:47 PM #

    ND, thank you for posting this series. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years and I love it.

    I’ve always had a sort of neutral view of pornography, I guess. Never been pro-porn, but I had also never thought all that much about the negative effects it has on people and relationships. So I’ve found your porn series absolutely fascinating and really informative. I’m going to share it with my boyfriend and my sister (my sister left her husband because of the rift that his porn use created between them). I think they’ll really enjoy reading it as well.

    Thanks again!

  108. valerienorth May 28, 2012 at 6:25 PM #

    Hecate- HI, I grew up SDA too. I didn’t have a horrible experience with it like you had. I guess I lucked out with a great pastor and his over the top great wife. They were very careful not to guilt people. They always gave me a hug and told me they loved me. No conditions. But in the end it didn’t take. Not enough logic and not enough women in the bible. One thing that did stick was the whole deal about not looking on the outside for beauty but looking within. No make-up, no jewelry blah blah blah. That’s one of the ideals that’s kept me from getting breast implants.
    Sorry, didn’t mean to derail. This is a great series. Thanks ND.

  109. Hecate May 29, 2012 at 6:41 PM #

    Glad to hear it, valerienorth. I guess it is a matter of luck when it comes to any kind of group, really. It seems there’s either an awful energy or a positive vibe – no happy medium.

    Well I suppose one positive thing I got out of it is the vegetarianism. I am still veggie today, and I do think it has been a good thing for my health. Unfortunately I got bashed by several members of the church for piercing my ears when I was ten, which seems like a rather innocent thing to be punished for at such a young age.

    I can see the ‘beauty within’ angle. But I’m not sure banning self expression altogether works. Certainly agree with not encouraging cosmetic surgery though.

    As far as the ‘not enough logic’ angle, yes, that was a big problem. I went to Bible study class while at the church as a youngster, and was told this wild story about how ‘God had a new name for me in heaven, inscribed in a crystal which I would find in a sparkling river.’ Oh Lord. I probably should have asked if people could also poop rainbows in heaven :D Perhaps that accounts for my colorful imagination…

  110. valerienorth May 29, 2012 at 10:47 PM #

    Hecate- Poop rainbows! LMAO. Thanks for that one. It’s interesting when I meet someone who also grew up in the church. The crazy stories abound. Although, most of my experience was positive there are some instances of crazy that my sister and I still laugh about. One time our sabbath school teacher brought in a tape of ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ and played it for us backwards. That was when back-masking subliminal messages was the big threat. It was supposed to say ‘decide to smoke marijuana’, but all I heard was the Charile Brown teacher talking. It was so hysterical. Most of us couldn’t stop snickering the whole time.
    I’m sorry they gave you a lot of grief over ear rings. You would think that adults would have more common sense than that even if they disagree with it. Making someone feel bad = they don’t want to come to church.
    Well, it’s getting late and I should pack it in. night night.

  111. Hecate May 30, 2012 at 1:09 PM #

    Oh I almost forgot about that craziness! I think my Mom suffered more damage from the church than I did, as she’s very conflicted where healthy expression in consenting adults is concerned (sexually or otherwise). Actually, that ended up being bad for me, as I was not allowed to go out or socialize while at high school in a normal way. The song targeted in her day was ‘Puff the Magic Dragon,’ for fairly obvious reasons. Poor Puff! Sheesh.

  112. steelwars101 May 31, 2012 at 7:45 PM #

    I was bored and hitting up random blogs looking for something interesting to read and ended up here.
    As a male conservative when I first starting reading I thought to myself “What kind of wacko feminazi crap is this?”

    I’m sure that will offend a few but that was my first impression.

    But believe it or not I do have an open mind and when someone explains their opinion in such a well thought out, educated way with an obvious intent to just put out what they feel is the basic truth about a subject I have to check it out.

    I never really saw a problem with porn before I read this series of blog posts here and then, after reading them, I started reading a few other articles and blogs and watched a couple of video’s done by ex-porn stars and then I read what you posted again.
    Now I do see a big problem with porn and I understand what you mean.
    No bullshit and no joke. I get it and I agree with you.

    Thanks.

  113. Kate June 5, 2012 at 4:52 AM #

    Thank you for addressing misogyny so eloquently. This post helped me clarify and put into words exactly why pornography and prostitution are so disturbing.

  114. crazydave36 June 18, 2012 at 1:09 PM #

    I think you raise a lot of good points here, however I disagree with your premise. I think you are making sweeping generalisations.

    I am a Man

    However, I have been raped. No shit it was humiliating, demeaning and of course it scarred me psychologically. But these scars are nothing compared to those left by my experiences as an employee.

    As a rape victim my role was entirely passive. I was not required to actively engage with what was going on. I could just shut down, go away inside and block a lot of it out. As an employee I had no such opportunity. I was required to perform on threat of poverty, which meant I had to engage with and actively participate in my own humiliation and dehumanisation. This made it much more difficult to psychologically defend myself, and as a result the experience of employment had much worse effects than that of rape.

    Of course not all porn performers have an entirely passive role which enables them to go away inside – but many do. While of course it is tragic that human beings have to do this, I honestly believe it is less destructive than most careers. I cannot watch most porn, not because I think doing so is intrisnically less ethical than other acts of consumerism, but because doing so creates a strong emotional connection with the mistreatment of human beings which is entirely absent when you, say, buy sweatshop clothes.

    Compared to a lot of history we are fortunate to live in a society which recognises the damage rape does. However we do not live in a society which recognises the damage employment does. The Greeks recognised how destructive work is, as did pretty much every non-capitalist society with any admirable features. It is up to us as radicals to challenge the normalisation of pathalogical social relations and to avoid reinforcing it. If not us the who?

    Thanks for your post

  115. lizor June 25, 2012 at 12:12 PM #

    To the regulars here, my apology for possible troll feeding here, but:

    “As a rape victim my role was entirely passive. I was not required to actively engage with what was going on. I could just shut down, go away inside and block a lot of it out. As an employee I had no such opportunity. I was required to perform on threat of poverty, which meant I had to engage with and actively participate in my own humiliation and dehumanization.”

    CD36 – the post is about being raped for money where you are required to perform on threat of poverty. Did you read the post or just sweep it and make a few generalizations?

    “we do not live in a society which recognises the damage employment does”.

    And you come here accusing the author of “sweeping generalizations”??

    Have you heard of the “labour movement”?

  116. CPB July 12, 2012 at 6:11 PM #

    Yeah, I’d like to hear this list of careers that are more self-destructive than pornography, crazydave.

    Anyway, I thought I’d just stop by to say it’s been four months and I need my fix. Feed the beast, 9d!

  117. Grey Brain July 29, 2012 at 8:18 AM #

    ******
    Quoted from D:
    “I’m going to level with you. Sometimes you let your anger cart your point off into the offing and you lose your train of thought (not because you’re female but because you’re human and are PISSED and OUTRAGED at what you [I think correctly] perceive to be egregious examples of human cruelty and selfishness) … and sometimes I think you’re using your rapier wit and verbal dexterity to kick those (men frequently) who are hardly your intellectual equals.

    But it’s time I said it.

    You’re right. Your position.

    It’s correct.”
    ******

    Oh I can do stoppy-talk too! Watch:

    You’re lame. Your arrogance.

    It sucks.

    And aren’t we all so blessed to have D come down from on high to LEVEL with us? Sooooooo glad he can affirm our authors correctitude. Yeah, uh, dude? You do not superceed this author in knowledge. Therefore you cannot condescend to “level”. See how that works?

    This piece is correct. No shit, Shitlock. The sheer hubris employed to just drop in and comment on someone else’s blog makes me embarrassed for you. Because you think it’s normal or that people respect you for it.

    Well it’s not. And they don’t.

    More stoppiness!

    The “oooohhhh wwwooowwwww you’re so angreeeeeeeeeee” thing is played out as shit. Being angry means that one is not adjusted to a profoundly sick society. One’s anger is directly proportional to one’s ability to SEE WHAT IS AROUND THEM.

    So! Balls to Mr. But I Haz a Degree! and the rest of this type of “scholar”. The emperor is nekkid without the sense to be red-faced.

    (…how was that for using wit and dexterity to kick a man who is not intellectually equal? Pretty good, I think. Salut!)

  118. Sara September 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM #

    It’s been almost six months… will you post again?

    • Nine Deuce September 13, 2012 at 9:59 AM #

      I will, but it’s going to have to wait until some more pressing things get taken care of. Trust me, I feel uber-guilty.

  119. Sugarpuss October 21, 2012 at 6:52 PM #

    Why do some of these dumb doods keep bringing up gay porn? That’s completely out of female jurisdiction. What men do to each other is between men. They need to fix that shit on their own and stop trying to drain Feminist resources. The male sex is so fucking selfish! They just can’t stand it when women aren’t talking about them, caring for them, or coddling them. To the best of my knowledge, women aren’t producing gay porn….GAY MEN are producing gay porn. Hence, this is not a female issue. End of.

  120. vanizork February 10, 2013 at 8:12 PM #

    ["In any case, i don’t think one can just state that every act of penetration is an act of domination and expect people to take it as some sort of self-evident truth."]

    Alex, while the act of sexual penetration itself is inherently neutral and value-free, our society and culture is such that it ascribes values to this act (among other things). Consciously or unconsciously, the penetrator is culturally seen as ‘powerful’ while the penetrated as ‘weak and inferior’. Nine Deuce’s observation on the politics of penetration is merely descriptive, not prescriptive.

    ["Also, on a related note, one can’t just assume every woman in the porn industry is secretly suffering, while only faking consent and pleasure to their male opressors."]

    I’m sure that Nine Deuce made it clear in her/his article that it IS possible for women in porn to experience physical pleasure, while also simultaneously contributing to the culture of misogyny. While there certainly exists women in porn who physically enjoy their work, and say that they have ‘freely chosen’ it, one must look at the wider societal context from which their decisions were made. How enticing would participating in porn be, if your value and worth as a human being could be validated by this very particpation? Think about it.

    ["Furthermore, what about male gay porn? What about fetish porn in wich the female part plays a dominant and maybe even violent role? Are these kinds of porn better, worse or just as destructive as “standart” heterosexual porn?"]

    If you’ve noticed, in gay male porn the ‘bottom’–who is *seen* to appropriate the ‘role’ of a woman–is oftentimes treated just as badly, in general, as women in porn. ‘Femininity’ (i.e. the penetrated) as it is deemed to be symbolic of, is punished. Also, your point about fetishistic ‘Femdom’ porn is irrelevant–the expressions of ‘conquest’ and ‘power’ in the sorts of role-reversals that characterize Femdom porn are only temporary, and constrained within the scenario of the porn setting. Furthermore, these ‘role-reversals’ still adhere to the violent conquerer/conquest binary underlying most pornography.
    In contrast, in ‘mainstream’ porn the standard depictions of humiliated women carry with them a heavier meaning when–in the vast majority of contexts outside of porn–women really *are* disadvantaged relative to men, and where for many of them, female-specific vitriol and violence *are* a daily reality.

  121. Attempted Feminist July 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM #

    First of all, thank you for making this series. I’m an 18-year-old guy, and I have pretty much always considered myself a feminist… and this “Porn” series has made me see that porn is not compatible with feminism at all. I feel like a pretty terrible human being for enjoying it, actually. As I should, I suppose. I suppose I always knew there was abuse in the industry, but I never knew to what extent (due to denial, at least in part). So thank you for that. No more porn for me. Already sort of dreading the loss, even so, which probably makes me an even worse human being, but I’m working on it.
    Although I never did like the more overtly brutal crap, like “dog porn,” which I assure you, as a male over 15, I have not seen “at least ten times.” I was honestly under the impression that crap like that was more of a joke than anything else until I saw the numbers you found. Yeaaahh. Ew. I’m not gonna justify it by saying “well my porn isn’t as bad,” though, because it still has all the same problems you pointed out.
    I read all the posts in this series and a handful of others by you, but I was unable to find it if you ever address this in more detail: “men being ‘naturally’ prone to becoming aroused by visual stimulation (which is utter horseshit).” I’ve probably been taught by the patriarchy to accept that, but why IS it horseshit? And more generally, how DO you separate “natural” aspects of sexuality from what the patriarchy instills in people’s minds, since it has been present in pretty much all if not all cultures and is certainly present in all modern cultures?
    Is it possible to imagine having sex with women (while masturbating) without it being misogynistic? I remember reading a feminist blogger’s post (I’ve been reading several recently) that basically said this IS rape because the woman you’re imagining didn’t consent (“visual rape”), and it still objectifies the woman. What about drawn porn? Some people get off to cartoons. Does that carry all the same problems?
    Thanks again for writing all this! I feel enlightened. And thoroughly disgusted with myself and society. It’s a strange feeling.

    • CPB July 27, 2014 at 10:48 AM #

      “men being ‘naturally’ prone to becoming aroused by visual stimulation (which is utter horseshit).” I’ve probably been taught by the patriarchy to accept that, but why IS it horseshit?”
      Easy. It’s something ugly men have been telling themselves for decades so they can get some sleep at night. In reality women *are* visually stimulated. Have you noticed any good looking, muscular men having a hard time getting dates whether he’s wealthy/privileged or not? Yeah…didn’t think so.
      “how DO you separate “natural” aspects of sexuality from what the patriarchy instills in people’s minds”
      Women have a really easy time differentiating the BS men perpetuate (solely to satisfy their own egos) because we weigh their perception of reality against ours. Guess what? That shit is very often incongruent. Men never stop to ask women what we find attractive or what we want and/or need. The will of men has been forced on women for thousands of years and has recently manifested itself as a social conditioning shitfest.
      You can take the rest of your questions to a confessional. Ick….

      • Attempted Feminist July 27, 2014 at 7:13 PM #

        Oh. That’s a reading comprehension failure on my part; I thought she was saying that men are NOT naturally visually stimulated, but she meant that men ALONE are not naturally visually stimulated. Ok.
        While it does make sense women would have a better ability to separate “nature” from patriarchy, I wouldn’t think that it’s perfect, especially since at least some women’s sexuality is explicitly affected by the patriarchy: for instance, as the “porn” series mentioned, some women also watch porn. Perhaps that’s not so important, though; for the most part, even for me, a man, it seemed pretty easy to understand parts of sexuality that are “artificial,” once pointed out by Nine Deuce… with the exception of the visual stimulation thing, which I simply misunderstood.
        I don’t think there are any feminist confessionals for me to go to, sadly, even if I were religious. Sorry if my questions grossed you out.
        Thank you so much for your response!

        • CPB July 28, 2014 at 12:29 PM #

          “While it does make sense women would have a better ability to separate “nature” from patriarchy, I wouldn’t think that it’s perfect, especially since at least some women’s sexuality is explicitly affected by the patriarchy: for instance, as the “porn” series mentioned, some women also watch porn.”
          So…because some women have been coerced into believing that pain is tantamount to pleasure, that makes it OK for men to indulge? What exactly are you getting at by habitually concluding that ‘women don’t *really* know what they want’? You already stated that, supposedly, the manufactured aspects of female sexuality are easy enough to differentiate, but if that were true you wouldn’t still be oh-so-subtly insisting that the ‘line’ between patriarchal demand and nature is blurred.
          Here’s a handy reference: women have never possessed an innate desire to be objectified, beaten, tortured, raped, abused, or for some gross asshole to lob dollar bills at them in a dank, dimly-lit warehouse. Internalized misogyny has everything to do with some women cleaving to a patriarchal vision of what women’s sexuality should be – brutal submission – rather than what it really is – intimacy, both physical and emotional.
          I’m just curious as to what you still find so confounding about the nature vs nurture debate with respect to female sexuality; please and thank you.

          • Attempted Feminist July 28, 2014 at 3:10 PM #

            “So…because some women have been coerced into believing that pain is tantamount to pleasure, that makes it OK for men to indulge?”
            No, of course not. I’m not suggesting that. Nine Deuce already debunked that in one of the posts; I was just bringing up an example of “internalized misogyny” (the phrase eluded me).
            “I’m just curious as to what you still find so confounding about the nature vs nurture debate with respect to female sexuality; please and thank you.”
            I suppose I still have a tough time imagining what sexuality “naturally is” outside of any social influences, especially ubiquitous influences like patriarchy. If women’s sexuality is naturally “intimacy, both physical and emotional,” is men’s sexuality also naturally “intimacy, both physical and emotional?” It would be a whole lot healthier and GOOD, for sure. I don’t get why “natural” means “good.” Misogynists think patriarchy is natural. Feminists think patriarchy is unnatural. Patriarchy is evil, but why does it matter whether or not it’s natural? How is something being “natural” relevant to morality?

            • CPB August 1, 2014 at 3:08 PM #

              I phrased that assumption in the form of a question because it really sounded as though you were surreptitiously condoning pornography. A lot of men, especially ‘sex positive’ male feminists, attempt to make that argument, and just because its been debunked a thousand times over doesn’t necessarily mean you weren’t either. Anyway…
              “If women’s sexuality is naturally “intimacy, both physical and emotional,” is men’s sexuality also naturally “intimacy, both physical and emotional?”
              Yes. Pretty simple, isn’t it?
              “I suppose I still have a tough time imagining what sexuality “naturally is” outside of any social influences, especially ubiquitous influences like patriarchy.”
              Why? Natural = innate. Mammals (and others) use pain and suffering as avoidance stimuli for protection. Women, contrary to popular belief, are no different. You can bet that the eroticized violence so commonly depicted in porn is not ‘natural’ in addition to being morally reprehensible. Patriarchy has existed since the dawn of time and is considered ‘normal’, but it’s far from an unmitigated truth like biological reality. You appear to be conflating ‘normal’ with ‘natural’. Maybe this is the source of your confusion?
              “Patriarchy is evil, but why does it matter whether or not it’s natural?”
              People are less likely to resist what’s considered tradition or the ‘natural order’ (i.e. perceived normality; not truly ‘natural’) because they fear being ostracized. Not to mention the assumption that normalized values, beliefs, and behaviors are considered inherently good or at least tolerable. This makes it easy for men (in particular) to dismiss claims of misogyny or resist any change to the status quo. That patriarchy is manufactured (via religion, media, social conditioning, peer pressure, etc) shouldn’t matter but, to an alarming number of people, it does.
              “I don’t get why “natural” means “good.”…”How is something being “natural” relevant to morality?”
              The point is that what’s considered normal is natural and what’s considered natural is good. This is a fairly common heuristic that society follows and yes, the reasoning is incorrect, simplistic, and ignores factual reality. Basically, subjective concepts like morality and normality are intertwined with objective nature and this is problematic. That so many people view these normalized pornographic depictions as a natural, and therefore accurate and acceptable, expression of female sexuality is the issue.

              • Attempted Feminist August 2, 2014 at 2:33 PM #

                Gotcha. Honestly, just a few months ago I probably would’ve made arguments just as foolish if not that particular one, so I see why you’d think I was trying to condone it. I’ve seen the error of my ways.
                “Yes. Pretty simple, isn’t it?”
                I sort of figured (and hoped) the answer to that would be yes :). I’ve felt sort of conflicted… I feel like I’ve got some mad mental dissonance between what’s natural and what’s been deeply instilled in me by patriarchy. Makes me feel slimy inside, but I’m glad I’m learning the truth about all this.
                Thanks again, so much, for explaining this and being patient with my thick head!

            • CPB August 1, 2014 at 3:39 PM #

              Just out of curiosity, why are you having such a tough time imagining a world where brutalizing women is not arousing or acceptable? You’ve already stated that “it would be a lot healthier and good” if the patriarchy did not have a stranglehold on the public’s perception of sex, yet you seem more bothered by your perceptions being challenged than the reality that pornography harms women. Why else would you endlessly quibble semantics or derail the thread with unnecessary philosophical questions about morality vs nature?

      • Sugarpuss July 29, 2014 at 9:54 PM #

        Easy. It’s something ugly men have been telling themselves for decades so they can get some sleep at night. In reality women *are* visually stimulated.

        Wow, this sounds just like something I would say! LOL It’s such an obvious lie that het women don’t respond to good-looking men. And it’s proven to be a lie every time women are shamed for commenting on a man’s attractiveness (see: recent mugshot controversy that prompted a shitstorm reaction on twitter from thousands of jealous dudes). Young girls are very honest about this physical attraction, but they find themselves being bullied by so many angry, old, entitled cocks, they eventually cave in and surrender to the brainwashing.
        A billion squealing Justin Bieber fans proves me right. Before that, it was a billion squealing Backstreet Boy fans. From my time, It was a billion squealing New Kids On The Block fans. And before that, it was a billion squealing Beatles fans, etc, etc.

    • Justin July 31, 2014 at 7:15 PM #

      As a feminist I have always believed that men should respect women at all levels. Physical harm is evil. So are damaging words. Sexual harassment or unwelcome sexual comments are never ok in my opinion. It makes women into objects rather than human beings.
      Disrespecting a human being is not limited only to physical contact (rape or assault) nor words (harassment). Where does porn use fit in? Well, using a woman’s image for your own sexual gratification is still very disrespectful. A porn user basically is using another person’s imagery for their own selfish desire for sexual gratification.
      No matter what any guy tells you, the truth is that men do not “need” pornography.
      I have a problem with saying that a man looking at a porn video is like rape. I understand the intellectual exercise of comparing and contrasting two forms of disrespect toward a person’s body, but the physical rapist is clearly more evil. You don’t want to know what I think should happen to men who rape women.
      Physical rape and porn use are both evil, but not on the same level. With that out of the way, how evil is porn use? …. Well I think that sexual desire is a normal part of the human experience. The problem with porn is it makes men feel a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies. It makes men feel that a woman is just an object for their own sexual pleasure, rather than a full human. Of course sex can be a wonderful part of life, but the central problem with pornography is how it makes men view and treat women.
      In conclusion, porn is a teacher. It teaches misogyny, disrespect toward women and male entitlement.

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