Archive | Mansplaination RSS feed for this section

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.

Why I Hate Men Part 2: Guys Take Up Space

18 Feb

I know you all must be tired of all this football talk being as it’s a bunch of yammering about men’s interests on a purportedly feminist website. (I can tell by my hits, but come on, that header image of the idiot football fans whooping it up like monkeys over the Jets was pretty funny, right?) I figured I’d compensate by talking some more about men, but in a much less charitable tone (not that I was all that charitable about football, but I did allow a bit of male perspective onto the site, which I suppose I deserve a fine for). And hence we resume the Why I Hate Men series.

You remember Airport Asshole, don’t you? He was the muse, as it were, that inspired me to write the Why I Hate Men series in the first place. Now, I know I haven’t exactly whipped this series out, but the important thing — according to me — is that I’m getting to it now.  Anyway, Airport Asshole exhibited so many of the characteristics that make men such a generally repulsive bunch that I’ve decided to go ahead and use him as an example to illustrate the subjects of each of the posts in this series. He serves as a particularly fine case study for this post.

Have you ever seen Just One of the Guys? It’s probably my favorite 80s movie — if not my favorite movie of all time — and if you haven’t seen it you’re missing something very major in your life. The story is awesome. Terry Griffith (played by the world’s greatest actor, Joyce Hyser), a popular teenage girl at an Arizona high school, determines after overhearing her journalism teacher and some old perv who also teaches at the school discussing the old perv’s desire to bang her that the reason she didn’t win the school’s journalism contest was because she’s a girl. Because her only dream in life is to enter the field of journalism, and because the contest winner will compete against the winner from a rival high school for a summer internship at the local paper, Terri decides to disguise herself as a boy and enroll in the other school in order to submit her article there. Luckily for Terri, her parents are out of town at the time, her name is Terri, Sturgis-Wilder High School has lax paperwork requirements for incoming students, and the school’s journalism contest’s deadline is two weeks later than that at her original institution, Pearl High School (otherwise the whole thing would never have worked, har har). Hijinks ensue as Terri attempts to pass herself off as a boy while partying her way through two unsupervised weeks with her sex-crazed younger brother, Buddy. I won’t ruin the rest of the story for you, but you need to see it. It’s got Billy Zabka (the bad guy from Karate Kid) as the greatest 80s movie bully of all time, it’s got Billy Jacoby (Brad from Silver Spoons) as the pervy little brother, it’s got Leigh McCloskey (who was unfortunately in Fraternity Vacation with Tim Robbins, retch) as the asshole college boyfriend, it’s got Arye Gross (Gordon Bloomfeld — of the Marina Del Rey Bloomfelds — from Soul Man) as one of the school’s nerds, it’s got a custom title-track written and performed by Shalamar, and the soundtrack features one of the greatest songs ever made, “Trouble” by Lindsey Buckingham. Seriously. See it.

What in the hell, you must be asking, does this have to do with Nine Deuce hating men? Not much, really, but it’s essential set-up for the following clip in which Buddy, on the occasion of Terri’s first appearance as a dude (in a KILLER wing cap), teaches her how to pass for male. I’d recommend watching the whole seven minutes or so, but the essential bit starts at about 4:37.

Buddy, though he may be a little asshole, is right about one thing: guys take up space. Airport Asshole took up a LOT of space, using seats as luggage racks, sprawling out over several chairs, sticking his legs out into the aisle so that anyone walking past would be forced to squeeze by him and all of his personal items. Men take up space. They take up space on the subway, in restaurants, at the library, everywhere. They spread out. They make themselves at home. They take up as much space as they require and, often, much more without regard for anyone else’s existence. It’s not exactly ground-breaking to say that men take up more than their fair share of space (I mean, what woman who has ever lived with a dude hasn’t had to tell him to get the fuck out of the middle of the bed so she can lie down), but that’s really only the most obvious manifestation of the underlying problem with most of the male products of our culture (and most others): a turgid, overflowing, completely unexamined sense of entitlement. And is there any more repugnant personality characteristic than an obvious sense of entitlement?

That sense of entitlement encompasses much more than just a requirement for a lot of physical space, it also includes an expectation on the part of most men that they be free to take up as much of several more abstract forms of space as they want to. Men grow up believing that the world revolves around them (because it does), and that cannot but lead to boorishness. Just think about the behaviors that the average parent and society at large encourage in children. Little girls are taught to take up as little room as possible, to be nice to everyone, to be quiet, to be sweet, to emulate the demure and coquettish behaviors they see adult women exhibiting around them and on television, to keep their opinions to themselves unless they’re handing out compliments, to think of everyone in the world’s needs and wants before their own. Little boys, on the other hand, are encouraged to be rambunctious, confident, and bold. They’re rarely told how to sit or how to walk or how to talk unless they’re exhibiting absolutely egregious behavior, and they learn to emulate the behaviors of the adult men they see around them and on television. And current male role models come in two general types: the imposing, intimidating man’s man who frowns at everyone all the time (think Don Draper and Keith Olbermann) and the bratty asshole “man-child,” the positive portrayal of which has made it possible for Kevin Smith to afford the world’s ultimate gaming system and as many of those Japanese sex robots as anyone could possibly want (I’m guessing — I suppose he could be into collecting Warhammer 40,000 figurines and hanging out with strippers).

What both of these types have in common, and what boys generally absorb as they’re squished into the male gender mold, is a sense of entitlement to take up space on every possible front. Let us look at a few examples:

  • Men expect to get to talk, and they expect everyone to listen to them, whether they know what they’re talking about or not. Now, I see no problem with anyone expecting people to listen to them in discussions in which they possess relevant knowledge, but this goes far beyond that. For example, I have an advanced degree in a certain subject and am in the process of obtaining an even advanceder one. Still, there are men I know who have not taken one course or read three books on the subject who think they’ve got a thing or two to tell me about that subject. Despite the fact that they’re almost always completely factually and analytically off base and despite the fact that I have several pieces of paper from universities (the bastions of the white male-centric epistemological order) people in other countries have heard of that prove that I know more about the subject than these dudes do, I am expected to endure their sophomoric proclamations and to prove to them that I am not wrong for disagreeing with their ill-informed conclusions. Then there are the “intellectual” types who come to this and other feminist blogs to explain things to us womenfolk, operating on the presumption that, even though we’ve been thinking, reading, and writing about these subjects for longer than they’ve been ruminating on the majesty of “alternative” internet porn and how “rad” Nietzsche was, we could never possibly have conceived of what they’re bringing to the table and thus ought to take their uninformed and painfully banal opinions-disguised-as-fact as gospel. They feel entitled to sap the energy of feminists by forcing us to repeatedly explain to them why feminism and not humanism, why the feminist movement does not need male leadership or consulting services, why the female gender role causes more psychic harm than male privilege, why bukkake isn’t a feminist act for the recipient. In short, men, whether they are qualified to or not (and they are most often not), take up too goddamn much intellectual space.
  • Men expect women to give them the benefit of the doubt and to waste our time considering possible excuses for their stupid behavior. When I talk to people I know about porn use, without fail dudes tell me that men can’t help but use porn because ____, ____, and ____ make it impossible to do otherwise. When I note that this or that dude is a homophobic, misogynistic asshole, some other dude will tell me it isn’t his fault, he just grew up in a culture in which he was expected to act like a Pantera fan. I get it because I have also spent my entire three decades in a culture that expects me to behave in ways that I find absurd, but I don’t engage in those behaviors because I’ve realized that they’re absurd and have decided not to engage in them because I am responsible for my own behavior. Weird, I know. But where does all of this empathy go when it comes to women’s behavior? Why aren’t these dudes brainstorming excuses for women’s actions that they don’t particularly like? Because men are entitled to empathy and women aren’t. Doi. Men take up too much emotional space.
  • Men feel entitled to unfettered access to women’s bodies. Men coerce women into sex they do not want by means of emotional manipulation, physical and psychological terrorism, and plain old brute force. They push their partners into sex acts that they might not want to do. They refuse to stop when they’re asked to stop, pretending not to know the difference between yes and no. They grope us, harass us, leer at us, and threaten us, and expect us to take it as a compliment.  Men also think they’re entitled to use pornography despite the fact that women and girls are abused in its production and despite the negative effects their and others’ porn use has on the women they are close to and on women as a group. The world is awash in images of what men want; advertisements, porn, movies, television, strip clubs, women’s fashion, and the female sex role in general all exist to cater to men’s sexual wants to the detriment of women’s free sexual expression and our bodily and mental health. Men and their aggressive, oppressive sexuality take up too much social space.
  • Men feel entitled to use the language that ought to be reserved for discussing real oppression to equate their petty, individualistic grievances with much more serious and widespread phenomena. Men think they ought to be considered equally put upon simply because they can come up with an example of a time a man suffered. They, from their loftily oblivious position, don’t have to think very hard about the issue at hand. If they can come up with a single example to show that they, too, have at one time or another been victims, then they are off the hook and don’t need to acknowledge their privilege. They argue that if women want equality, then women have to be willing to give men equal room to whine about what they’ve been made to suffer. They don’t see the big picture, but rather each tiny incident as if it weren’t connected to larger social forces. Hence, you have men complaining about some overblown case of a false rape accusation but unwilling to confront the reality of what it means to be female in a culture in which women’s sexuality is seen as the property of men. Or you see men suing bars that have ladies’ night because it’s not fair to make men (who make more money than women) pay a cover when women don’t have to, taking no account of anything other than the “unfairness” of unequal cover charges. It’s similar to the old, “If black people can say nigger, why can’t I?” argument. It’s utter tomfoolery, but it’s the crux of every MRA argument, this conception of equality that’s completely myopic (at best) and/or dishonest. Men take up too much discursive space.

Feel free to add to this admittedly short (because of lack of time, not material) list.

Now, I can already hear the complaints of gender essentialism here. I am not claiming that these traits are inborn, or that all men exhibit all of them, but rather that our current cultural construction of masculinity encourages them in most men to varying degrees (translation: I hope I don’t need to say this, but if this isn’t about you, it isn’t about you). I’m also not claiming that the feminine gender role is superior to the masculine one. I have quite a few objections to the feminine role, as I’m sure everyone knows. No, it’s masculinity AND femininity that are the problem, because we don’t need two gender roles arranged in a hierarchy maintained by sexualized violence and political and social repression. The behaviors I’m outlining in this series are bad because they are boorish, aggressive, emotionally violent, and lead to unnecessary suffering on the part of women and the men who have to deal with alpha male bullshit. That these behaviors are associated with maleness reflects badly on the concept of masculinity, yes, but my response isn’t to say that femininity should replace masculinity as a hegemon, but rather that both should disappear, as should the stupid practices associated with them. There are valuable things associated with femininity (caring about people, knowing how to do practical tasks in order to take care of yourself and others, etc.) and with masculinity (I’ll think of something), but only those things associated with maleness are valued because devaluing women’s contributions to the world allows for women’s continued economic and social subjugation. My suggestion is that we do away with these stupid ideas of masculinity and femininity and start judging characteristics based on morality, utility, etc. and THEN decide whether something is worth doing. The behaviors I’ve outlined above fail the test, and not because they’re associated with masculinity, but because they’re rude and destructive.  The answer isn’t to “feminize” men or replace masculinity with femininity in the hierarchy, but rather to get rid of constraining gender roles AND the hierarchy so that we can all just be human and display whatever characteristics come comfortably to us. I still have some faith in the idea that human nature in its natural state isn’t quite as shitty as it is in the current hierarchical order. If you’re a dude and you think this reads like a portrait of an asshole and doesn’t reflect your behavior, then don’t give me shit, do something constructive and go tell it to men who do behave this way. I promise you won’t be hard pressed to find them.

Van Halen sucks.

2 Sep

There, I said it. Why is it that every dick in the world expects me to like Roth-era Van Halen in order to give me a cool sticker? Obviously, everyone knows that Hagar-era Van Halen is the worst thing in the world behind Tequiza, but I’m coming out and saying it: Van Halen — even with Diamond Dave — is, like, the worst band of all time. I say that for several reasons, the foremost of which — for me at least — is their overt misogyny and the fact that their lyrics can’t possibly appeal to anyone but the kind of dude who pours beer on his own face when he gets fucked up and uses the word “tits” as a synonym for “cool.” But beyond that, is there such a thing as a song as overplayed as “Panama”? Hasn’t being into some dumbass band full of dudes who make surprised faces while “wailing” gone past the point of nostalgic irony and revealed itself to be just as stupid as it was in 1981? I’m sorry, dude, but Van Halen does not “rock.”

But aside from the fact that I’d rather listen to Colin Farell pontificate about the merits of fedoras vs. trucker hats than suffer through hearing “Hot for Teacher” one more time, let me get back to that misogyny thing. I know, I know, the 80s were the zenith for bands full of androgynous dudes aggressively objectifying women who wore less make-up and looser pants than they did. I know that Van Halen weren’t exactly alone in their laser-like focus on tits and partying, but they’re the most irritating to me because they’re the band that even people who’ve figured out being into Motley Crue’s first album isn’t cool still play on jukeboxes in urban bars with punning names (Crowbar, anyone?). Or maybe it’s that they seemed more serious about it and they never sang about anything else. I mean, in addition to singing about poontang, Poison sang about roses having thorns in them and other fruity cowboy shit, Motley Crue sang about the devil, Skid Row sang about being a badass eleven-year-old or whatever, but Van Halen was all tits and ass all the time, and they fucking meant it. Listening to the average Van Halen song makes me feel like some dirty old man is licking my ear. It’s just gross. Check out the lyrics to “Drop Dead Legs,” for example:

Drop dead legs, pretty smile,
Hurts my head, gets me wild.
Dig that steam, giant butt,
Makes me scream, I get nuh-nuh-nothing but the shakes over you
And nothing else could ever do.
Chorus:
You know that you want it.
I know what it is.
You know that you want it, baby,
When the night is through, will I still be loving you ? 
Dig those moves, vam-pire
Set me loose, get it higher.
Throw my rope, loop-de-loop
Nice white teeth, betty boop.
Set it cool real heavy.
I aint fooled, gettin ready.
Chorus

Just yuck, right? Diamond Dave is about as subtle as Luther Campbell. Almost every single one of their songs resembles this one, with a description of some body part or other that gets David Lee Roth’s old bald ass hot, a few notes on how bad he wants to hump the body part’s owner, and a promise that he’ll toss her away like garbage once the humping has been completed. I was talking to Davetavius about this the other day and he said, “What if a woman were to write a similar type of song about a dude? What would it even say?” We snickered a little as we wrote lyrics about giant dongs and “ripped abs” and the like, but it was just ridiculous. Even if I were one of the Donnas and spent all my time writing songs about how many dudes I wanted to bang, I still wouldn’t be writing inventories of disembodied body parts that made me want to get busy and then take off after having used the body parts’ owner to sate my base desires. That might be because I don’t fetishize body parts and get aroused by disconnected bits of flesh because I’m not a sociopath. There’s a difference between the Donnas singing about wanting to bone some guy and Van Halen saying they want to use a woman and throw her away.

I can’t get hot and bothered enough by looking at a buttcheek to be able to ignore the fact that there’s a human attached to it. You see, no matter how fancily crafted a body part might be, you’ve got to interact with the human being that it comprises a part of in order to have sexual contact with it. For me, that has often meant that no contact would occur, since finding out someone is — oh, I don’t know — a Van Halen fan or something will make it impossible for me to maintain interest in a body part. In any case, I’ve never been able to understand the ability to ignore someone else’s humanity (or personality) in order to use her/his body parts and then bone out. I’ve never been able to figure out how someone could want to have sex with a person they didn’t think it was worth talking to. I think that makes me a better person than David Lee Roth, right? I mean, of course I’m a better person than the dick who covered “California Girls” while wearing a captain’s hat, but now I’ve got even more proof.

Really, how can any woman have ever bought a Van Halen album? And how is it that these ironic dicks who think being into a Camaro band is cool can expect me to like a band that might as well print a label on their album covers that says, “A note to female listeners: We hate everything about you except for whichever body part of yours we might want to use for a few minutes, and after that we hate all of you.” That was a rhetorical question. Anyone who is into Van Halen is stupid enough to expect anything. But still, the expectation is representative of the kind of pervasive misogyny we deal with at every turn, and of the fact that we’re not even allowed the space to call attention to it. If I tell some guy who thinks Van Halen is “awesuuhm” that I’m not into being dehumanized by the bands I listen to, he’ll tell me to relax, that it’s party music, that I’m being a fag (and we all know that calling someone a fag is just misogyny in drag). And then I’ll know I’m talking to a Liberal Dude, one of those guys who claims to support women’s rights as long as those rights don’t start looking like the freedom to define our own sexuality and to live in a world in which we don’t have to laugh it off when people tell us that we’re nothing but masturbation devices.

Kyle Payne is a sexual predator.

19 Mar

I just want to make sure that anyone googling info on Kyle Payne knows that, despite his bullshit posturing, he’s a fucking miscreant rapist piece of shit. I was thinking about ignoring his return to blogging because he is, after all, a nugatory flea with a readership of about four (minus the hits he gets from feminists telling him to kill himself and quit pretending to membership in our movement) who doesn’t deserve the attention, but Ren’s post convinced me that wasn’t the right way to go (see Genevieve’s take here as well).

So, Kyle, here’s what I think you ought to do: go ahead and blog about whatever lefty political shit you think you have something interesting to say about (you don’t; your writing is terrifyingly boring, derivative, and banal), but please add some kind of disclaimer at the bottom of each post to alert the reader to the fact that, while you might hold all kinds of fancy anti-oppression opinions, your actions do not mesh with them. You see, it’s unethical for you to present yourself as an activist who cares about women’s right to live free from male abuse when you are yourself an abuser of women. And I’m not using the present tense on accident; I don’t believe that sexual predators can magically remorse themselves out of the belief that women are there for the abusing, and I therefore don’t believe that you’ve lost the urge to do so. 

If you can’t take the embarrassment of including that disclaimer, then maybe you ought to get the fuck off of the internet. I for one can’t believe your sense of shame doesn’t keep you from writing, but I suppose I ought to not be all that surprised, given the fact that you had the nerve to claim to be a radical feminist while commiting sex crimes. 

For the search engines: 

Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. Kyle Payne is a sexual predator. 

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe

Bill Maher’s a liberal. That means he supports your right to suck his dick.

19 Sep

Bill Maher sucks. Playboy liberalism sucks.

I don’t think there’d be any possible way for me to exaggerate about how much I hate Bill Maher. In fact, people I know often ask my opinion about him, pretending not to know, just in order to see me get all flustered and angry. For some reason I’ve of late received a few queries on what Bill Maher’s problem is, and on what the fuck is wrong with liberal dudes in general (can you believe someone had to ask my opinion on something?), so I figure the time has come for me to explain myself on this matter. 

I’ll be the first person to bemoan the lack of liberal messages in media of all kinds, and I’ve had a few well-meaning (har har) associates point out a seeming contradiction between my complaining on that subject and my complaining about Maher and his ilk. They tell me I ought to lay off of liberal comedians and liberal talk show hosts because we have so few of them, and that it’s people like me that destroy the unity of the party.

As if I give a fuck about that. First, I’m not a Democrat. Democrats are namby-pamby pansy-wansy centrists these days, and I’m fairly radical in my political and social views. That doesn’t mean I’m for armed revolution or anything, just that my gradualism looks different from their gradualism, which has been moving to the right since about the late 1960s.  Second, liberalism doesn’t allow for anything like the kind of “party unity” we see on the right. Liberalism’s foundation is the free exchange of competing ideas, not “party unity.” Know who was all about “party unity”? Hitler, Mussolini, Chiang Kai-shek, and Stalin. Party unity is the road to a dictatorship, and that’s why a liberal party won’t ever display the kind of unity you see in a conformist, jingoistic, right-wing outfit that simplifies every issue under the sun, no matter what its complexities, into a contest between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. If the Democrats get any more unified they’ll become Republicans. No thanks. Third, how liberal is Maher? I mean, yeah, he’s opposed to the Bush administration and its policies and spends half his show every week verbally licking Bill Clinton’s ass, but what does that mean other than that he agrees with, like, 80% of Americans and is impressed with a dude who is better at convincing women to get naked than he is? Finally, Bill Maher isn’t a comedian. He’s just some talentless asshole who gets paid to act like a smarmy tool on television. I’m not required to pretend that someone who is still telling Lewinsky jokes in 2008 is funny just because we both realize that starting a war in Iraq wasn’t a good idea.

My beef with Bill Maher isn’t limited to his shockingly stupid and derivative material. I’m also nauseated by his general attitude toward himself and toward other people. He’s clearly vainglorious to a degree that would make any rapper blush, and it couldn’t possibly be less warranted. He’s a short, unfunny half-wit who looks like Spuds Mackenzie with Dan Cortese’s hair. There aren’t a lot of grounds for arrogance there. (I mean, Spuds Mackenzie and Dan Cortese are cool, but Maher somehow finds a way to combine elements of two cool things to make something astoundingly uncool. Think of it like mixing BL Lime and Pinkberry.) I suppose he can be boastful about the fact that he’s got a show on HBO (whatever) and a large collection of sports coats, but Bob Costas can say the same thing and he’s not nearly as arrogant as Maher is.

His demeanor is so repulsive that I can hardly bear to watch his show at all, but when he starts interacting with other people it really comes out, especially if those other people happen to have vaginas. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen Maher look straight through a female guest and dismiss what she’s had to say despite the fact that it was more insightful, informed, and interesting than anything he himself could have come up with. He makes no attempt whatsoever, when discussing women in the news, to disguise his utter disdain for women and their humanity, and he routinely dehumanizes women in his stand-up routines and on his show. He’s constantly harping on and on about the “pussification” of American men, which is what he calls the “trend” toward men treating women like human beings and taking their partners’ feelings into account (if only). And when he’s not complaining that men aren’t all out hanging out at the Playboy mansion while their wives are at home cooking pot roasts and hanging around in Frederick’s of Hollywood gear for their men to come home so they can suck their dicks, he’s making obvious, unclever, derivative, and adolescent “jokes” about sex and the “differences” between men and women. 

So Bill Maher’s an asshole with no talent who gets paid a thousand times more than what he deserves to spread sexism all over our faces. Who cares, right? I care because he’s the world’s number one Liberal Dude and because he’s a perfect example of what’s wrong with the world of comedy.  

Let’s talk about comedy for a minute. I know it doesn’t matter as much as feminism in the grand scheme of things, but my life basically revolves around finding things to laugh about, and the world seems to be conspiring as of late to keep that from happening. It’s now become virtually impossible for me to be entertained in the sense that anyone intended. I suppose that makes me some kind of asshole, but it’s true. I mean, is there on this planet a single comedian that doesn’t spend half his time talking about shitting, his balls, his disgusting attitudes toward sex, and “what’s wrong with women”?  It may be a problem with the audience, but it seems pretty clear that there’s no such thing as a comedian/comedy writer who won’t stoop to that shit in order to get laughs out of the kinds of people who think ranch dressing improves any dish.

I don’t even care as much that those topics are gross or offensive as much as I do that they’re fucking stupid and not funny. Dave Chappelle, who every white dude in the world loves for all the wrong reasons, might be the perfect example of what I’m talking about. He’s a fairly intelligent and liberal dude who has some interesting perspectives on the world, but even he resorts to ball jokes and overt misogyny for half his material. Have you ever seen his special For What It’s Worth? It sucks. He makes about three semi-insightful and quasi-funny comments in a half hour, then spends 30 minutes telling ball jokes that are about as entertaining as getting Rick-rolled. He, David Cross, and Greg Giraldo (both of whom are also gynophobic douchebags) might be the only three semi-funny liberal stand-up comedians alive, and all three of them are guilty of it. There’s no hope.

That could be called a digression, but liberal dudism isn’t a problem that’s limited to the world of comedy.

Liberal Dudes abound. Who are they? Liberal Dudes are guys who will jump up and down to tell you that they’re all about equality and prosperity for everyone, but then tell you about the strip club they were at the night before or about the awesome anal porn site they last jerked off to. Liberal Dudes are ready to welcome us into the boardroom, provided we’re still willing to dance on the conference table at the employee party. Liberal Dudes love “sex-positive” “feminists” because Liberal Dudes support women’s freedom and “rights,” up to and including our “right” to strip and to suck dicks for money. Liberal Dudes love to see women embracing pornorific behavior like pole dancing, pube waxing, porn watching, thong wearing, chick kissing, and boob flashing as a means to “empowerment,” because that’s exactly the kind of power they want us to have: the power to give them boners. Liberal Dudes like to compare themselves favorably to conservatives because conservatives are anti-abortion and want to restrict women’s “freedom” to fuck random Liberal Dudes willy-nilly style. Liberal Dudes, on the other hand, support women’s freedom of sexual expression (as long as our sexual expression looks like a reasonable facsimile of their porn fantasies) and are pro-choice, because being pro-choice means they can pressure women into having abortions when they don’t want to take responsibility for impregnating them.

Liberal Dudes, in short, are willing to give us equal pay, let us have abortions, and let us have half the government jobs, provided that we’re fuckable, we don’t try to make them treat us like we possess the same measure of humanity that they do, and we don’t try to impose any limits on their “right” to use our bodies in person or via video. Sweet deal for us, I know. 

Liberal Dudes like to make a big show of what egalitarians they are by blathering about their support for women’s “rights” and “equality,” but you’ll see just how sincere their concern for women’s issues is when someone brings up date rape (dude, chicks these days are scandalous and get fucked up a lot), when someone points out the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace (dude, why can’t chicks take a compliment?),  when someone mentions any aspect of the systemic sexism in our culture and social structures (dude, why can’t chicks take a joke?). The gendered insults start flying when anyone suggests to a Liberal Dude that women don’t deserve to get groped, ogled, verbally harassed, date raped, or treated like idiots just because we have vaginas.

Liberal Dudes think they’ve done us a favor by being willing to tolerate our presence in public life. When we ask for any more than that, they think we’re a bunch of ungrateful bitches and start telling us we don’t know how lucky we are, that we’re hysterical, we’re crybabies, we’re weak, blah fucking blah. My personal favorite Liberal Dude line is “You women want equality but then you can’t handle it.” (Maher brought that one up constantly with regard to Hillary Clinton. He claimed she got her chance to run with the big boys and then acted like a pussy when things didn’t go her way. You know, because she faced absolutely no obstacles being the first viable female presidential candidate we’ve ever had.) Is there anything more offensive and obscenely entitled than the attitude these dudes take toward women wanting to be treated like human beings? They basically come right out and say, “We’ve given you a few of the rights and some of the status we have, so shut the fuck up. You’re lucky you even got that. Just think, you could be wearing a burqa.” 

I think I’ll have more to say about that last bit shortly, but for now I’m going to go listen to some Scandal and drink a Zima Gold.

Bookmark and Share

Sluts!

28 Jul

I suppose anyone who has ever read anything I’ve ever written, ever, will know that I’m not in the practice of calling people sluts or telling women to be ashamed of their sexuality or sexual behaviors. Good on those of you that applies to. But there are a lot of people in the world, it seems, who seem to think that radical feminists are all about shaming women for their sexual activities.

You see, there are a lot of people in the world that don’t know the difference between calling attention to the fact that the sex industry is inherently misogynistic and calling sex workers (or anyone else) sluts. Or they pretend not to know the difference because it benefits them and makes their ludicrous arguments seem like they have a gram or so more merit.

As a joke, I’m going to pretend that people who accuse radical feminists of slut-shaming really believe that’s what we’re up to and explain to them why they’re mistaken.

I’ve written before about the idea of women (or anyone, for that matter) calling other women sluts. I’m not for it. You see, I’m a feminist. That means that I want women to be treated like human beings rather than like caricatures, which means I’d like for us to have the opportunity to define our identities for ourselves rather than choosing to be a) a slut, or b) wife material. I don’t want my or any other woman’s identity defined by our sexual availability to men. When men have sex with a lot of people, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things because men are human beings. There is more to men, our cultural assumptions tell us, than their sexual practices (unless they’re gay, which makes them more like women than men). But women, our cultural assumptions tell us, are either whores or prudes, and that’s about all that matters.

Sounds like a socially-constructed gender role to me. Guess what radical feminists are totally opposed to?

As a woman who isn’t a virgin, I’ve been called a slut before. It’s shitty, it sucks, it’s uncool, it reduces the person it’s aimed at from a human being to a worthless piece of trash. Slut-shaming is one of the chief ways that women attempt to compete with each other for male approval in a patriarchy that defines women’s worth by their physical attractiveness and limits their ability to distinguish themselves by other means. As such, it’s a divide-and-conquer tool, and I don’t try to use the master’s tools to tear down his house because that shit doesn’t work.

I want women to have sexual freedom. I want us to get to decide who we want to have sex with, when we want to do it, how it should happen, and how often it should happen. I don’t want anyone coming and telling women that they can’t or shouldn’t do something that they want to do. Sex is private, our desires are unique, and no buttinskis should be coming around to tell us what we should desire to do in our private sex lives.

And even when sex becomes public and commodified, I’m not here to tell the sex worker to quit doing what she does, nor am I telling her she ought to be ashamed of herself. Like I’ve said before, we all find our own ways to make living in a patriarchy tolerable, and I’m not at this to judge other people’s choices. Knowing as I do that a lot of women face a pretty shitty set of options in this here oppressive society of ours, I won’t tell a sex worker that she’s selling us out to The Man. However, I will ask anyone who claims stripping, porn, and other forms of prostitution are empowering whence they derive their empowerfulness, and whether that empowerfulness remains once the transaction has been concluded.

Are women who engage in the business of catering to men’s fantasies exercising their own sexuality? That’s a tough question. I mean, we’re conditioned from such a young age to believe that female sexuality consists of catering to male sexuality that maybe it is for some people. Still, I would tend to argue that, since they’re being paid to fulfill a desire that comes out of someone else’s psyche, sex workers are exercising very little of their own sexuality and almost no real power (though they are exercising what agency they have within a patriarchal system). I’m open to discussing that with anyone whose experiences it doesn’t mesh with.

As for plain ol’ promiscuity and general Girls-Gone-Wild-esque behavior, I’d ask a similar question: do flashing one’s boobs, handing out blowjobs, and having sex with random dudes equal sexual empowerment for women? I know that there are women who genuinely enjoy doing such things, but I wonder where the enjoyment comes from. I’m not going to tell anyone where their sexual desires stem from, but I would like to ask people to consider the question for themselves, and tell me whether I’m full of shit for supposing that women who do enjoy such things like them because they’ve been bombarded with the idea that female sexual enjoyment should be dependent on the ability to arouse men.

You see that? I’m asking other human beings to think about some of the issues involved in the realm of human sexuality. Raising theoretical ethical issues with the sex industry and its impact on women’s lives and asking women to consider some of the more tangled cultural aspects of female sexuality does not equate with calling women sluts for engaging in this or that sexual activity.

So, how could anyone possibly accuse me of slut-shaming?

Ah, maybe because I ask people to consider the wider implications of their actions? Reducing that to slut-shaming is dishonest and provides a pretty lame foundation from which to engage with my arguments (if that’s even the intent, which I doubt). Human sexuality is a complex subject, and this argument is much more sophisticated than simplistic bullshit conceptions of sexuality like the Madonna/whore complex can account for. Let’s give it the respect and intellectual honesty it deserves, hmm?

Alright, enough about sex for today.


Bookmark and Share

A few responses to common objections to my position on porn

18 Jul
  • But I don’t really see how porn is a feminist issue!

Porn is a pressing feminist issue because it is anti-woman propaganda, pure and simple. It reduces women to a set of holes and completely erases their humanity and their sexuality (porn is about men’s sexuality, not women’s). Mainstream porn has always degraded and objectified women and taught men that women are to be used as objects, but now it carries the added message that women are vile trash. (See the name-calling, ejaculating onto faces, and choking that are ever more common in mainstream porn.) I fail to see how that is not a feminist issue, how it is not a feminist issue that a huge proportion of men are tying orgasm to seeing women humiliated and dehumanized.

  • Porn is pro-sex! What, are you anti-sex?

The argument that porn is pro-sex is faulty. The equation of women with temptation and sex and thus evil has led to a lot of the misogyny in our culture, but porn is an expression of that, not a rebuttal to it. In porn, women lose the power they supposedly have over men, the power to decide whether they will allow sex to occur. The women in porn are punished for the “prudishness” of other women. They are used, abused, and denigrated. There is no affection, no care, no respect. There’s not even any sense that the performers are attracted to each other.

Sex in porn is a commodity, something that the ones with means buy from the people who have to sell it to survive (whether survival consists of having enough money to live — almost all porn actresses are relatively poor, so don’t bring up the three that have made some money — or making an ill-advised attempt to get desperately needed attention and ephemeral power by allowing oneself to be objectified and exploited).

Porn, instead of being pro-sex, is pro-sex-as-a-tool-of-power. If you can find me a single example of mainstream porn in which an obvious power differential is absent, I’ll give you $1000. It doesn’t exist. Mainstream porn has NOTHING to do with women’s sexuality. Women in mainstream porn are fuck objects, and their sexuality is presented as consisting solely of serving male sexuality (and a fairly cheap and shallow representation of male sexuality, at that).

Sex in porn is honestly pretty lame. No matter what the people are wearing, no matter what they are saying, no matter what they are doing, they are acting out the same scenario over and over: female humanity being subordinated to male desire. That may very well be one way to conceive of and “do” sex, but it’s certainly not the only, and definitely not the most desirable or interesting, way. But that’s all we see. So I would not say that porn is “pro-sex.” I’d say it’s anti-sex. It’s anti-sex in that it severely constricts the ways in which sexuality can be expressed.

Unless you define sex as a commodified exchange of power, sex doesn’t exist in porn.

  • You’re demonizing sex workers! Most women in porn choose to participate in it. By saying they’re all being coerced, you’re diminishing the importance of real rapes!

The greatest obstacles to limiting coercion in the porn industry are the lack of regulation in the industry (I know that regulations exist, but are they enforced? When was the last time “the feds” showed up on a porn set to enforce regulations?) and the lack of ethics on the part of the consumer.  If men cared about women’s human rights, they would not use porn. The fact is, no one can be sure that the porn they are watching is not footage of a rape, and it is therefore unethical to consume pornography.

As to the issue of choice, I’m not all that concerned with blurring the distinction between voluntary and involuntary participation in sex work, because there really isn’t such a thing as voluntary participation. If women’s choices weren’t so limited by how far we have left to go in the struggle for equality, they wouldn’t need to turn to allowing their bodies to be exploited for money. I know that there are plenty of women who have bought into the idea that objectifying themselves is a source of pride and power, but the fact that they fail to see just how limited women’s sources of power and prestige are in our society doesn’t mean that the reality isn’t there. I do not wish to stigmatize sex workers, but nor do I believe that we ought to be looking up to them as seems to be the trend these days. I’ve never once exaggerated how sex workers are different from other people, nor have I claimed that they can’t be raped. They are raped, constantly, and if we actually cared about that fact, we wouldn’t support the industry that does it to them. The fact is, it is impossible for a woman who has been abused on a porn set to prove that she did not consent to what was done, and that means that women in porn have no recourse in the event that they are forced to perform acts they are not comfortable with.

  • Using porn is like eating meat or wearing clothes made in a sweatshop. I know I shouldn’t, but my decision to use porn or not to use it doesn’t really have much of an impact, and it’s easy to justify, just like it’s easy to justify eating meat or wearing clothes made in a sweatshop.

While I understand the arguments porn users make analogizing porn use to eating meat or buying products made in sweatshops, they’re not really good ones. When you buy clothes from a sweatshop, you are not looking at a picture of the person who made your jeans suffering. When you eat a cheeseburger, you are not looking at a photo of a cow being slaughtered. When you look at porn, however, you are looking directly at a human being who is being exploited. If you have the capacity to turn off your sense of empathy long enough to have a wank, congratulations. I don’t, and I wish men weren’t so selfish, didn’t feel so entitled to the use of women’s bodies, that they could do so. Our culture is absolutely saturated with images of women’s bodies being used for various purposes, so I understand where a lot of that entitlement comes from, but I still argue that men, if they really want to be able to claim to be thoughtful human beings, ought to feel pity, not titillation, when they see a woman being degraded.

  • I read a study once that said porn does not increase the incidence of rape.

The fact that one study (and is it even reliable one, or was it put out by MRAs?) says that porn use doesn’t increase sexual violence among “most men” doesn’t mean that it doesn’t do so among the most dangerous of men, and it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t lessen the sense of empathy in most men. It doesn’t address the fact that porn changes men’s attitudes toward women, whether they realize it or not, as many other studies tell us. Even if the fact that porn causes sexual aggression may still be up for debate in the minds of a few holdouts (just as Rush Limbaugh and 3 other assholes don’t believe in climate change), the fact that it changes men’s attitudes toward women and their status as human beings is not. When porn causes men to disbelieve women’s claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault, how can anyone argue that it has no net effect on women’s right to not be sexually assaulted?


Bookmark and Share

Motherfucker

9 Jul

I’ve had a few commenters balk at the suggestion (which I hadn’t made) that men can’t be feminists. I have yet to really weigh in on the subject because a) there are very few men who try to identify as feminists, and b) I never really gave a shit. That last one changed today.

I once discussed the idea of male feminists with a friend, and he agreed with my suggestion that men who call themselves feminists are a little weird. He’s as feminist as a dude can be without arousing my suspicion. What does that mean? He thinks a lot about gender issues, he recognizes male privilege and misogyny when he sees their manifestations, he’s open to discussing and considering anything having to do with gender (no matter how seemingly bizarre — Deuce’s Law arose out of a discussion with him), and he calls out the overtly and implicitly sexist behavior and assumptions of the people he talks to. He even asks people to reconsider their belief that there’s no harm in watching a little porn. He does not, however, call himself a feminist, nor does he try to tell me or anyone else what feminism is or should be about (though he’s not afraid to argue with me if he thinks I’m advancing something that doesn’t make sense). I’d call dudes like this cool.

Then there are the dudes who will agree with everything I say about the subject, deferring to any opinion I might express on gender issues because they’re not confident enough in their intellectual positions to be sure that any objections they may have aren’t arising from some sort of residual undetected male privilege (that’s fine — it’s vastly better than being a presumptuous boor). They make a point of discussing feminism and gender issues with people, and they are generally a benefit to the cause as they tend to be thoughtful dudes who people will listen to. These types may call themselves allies, sympathizers, or even feminists (though most of them, having read arguments that men cannot actually be feminists, would probably hesitate to appropriate that label). I’d call dudes like this allies of the movement.

I know a few dudes who are for the most part good guys who are sympathetic to the cause, but who will argue with me about some of my more radical opinions, not because my opinions don’t make sense, but because the implications of my opinions make them uncomfortable. I’d call dudes like this sympathizers.

There’s another type, though. There are dudes who call themselves feminists or feminist advocates and who argue vociferously for what they think are feminist causes, who attempt to place themselves at the center of the movement and to speak for women as “protectors.” I’d call dudes like this assholes.

Kyle Payne is an asshole. Feminists may sometimes overlook the little red flags in the writings of guys like Kyle Payne. We’re happy to have men on board, happy to have a few agents on the inside to help us out, because we know that there are some men who will never listen to us but might listen to a fellow dude. We overlook the warning signs and assume these guys are allies, taking whatever crumbs we can get from the beneficiaries of patriarchy, who we ultimately know we will need in order to succeed. I’m embarrassed to even type that.

I had Kyle Payne on my blogroll until today, when Genevieve, one of my frequent commenters, sent me an e-mail tipping me off to the fact that he’d been charged with possession of child pornography and sexual assault and has admitted to the assault. He was an RA at the school he went to, Buena Vista University, and apparently took advantage of a drunk girl, taking photos of himself assaulting her while she was passed out.  A college RA accused of taking advantage of a passed out girl? Shocking, I know. But this one was a FEMINIST ACTIVIST. He has a “radical feminist” blog. He’s been linked to by several of the radical feminist bloggers I respect most.

I’ll admit, I barely read half a post on his site before I linked to him. I’m busy, I’m lazy, and I fucked up. I was so excited to find a radical feminist blog written by a dude that I forgot to turn on my asshole meter. Now that I look back at his site, it’s tremendously obvious that he’s a self-important blowhard. If I was more careful, if I had read the fucking about page, I’d have noticed that he seems more concerned with aggrandizing himself than with women’s lives. His incessant references to himself as an “activist” and an “advocate” for women should have tipped me off to the fact that there was something beyond empathy motivating this guy. Had I noticed the tack he was taking, I might have picked up on the fact that he had ulterior motives or that there was something wrong with him. That he calls himself an advocate for women should have told me something about his attitude toward us. Fuck, if I had paid more attention I’d have seen that he’s a horrible writer, a trait I cannot abide. I’ll be more careful in the future.

Maybe the guy got into feminism as a result of his extreme guilt over doing something he knew was wrong. Maybe he’s like the gay preacher who rails against gays because he hates himself. I don’t really give a fuck. All I know is that I allowed myself to be taken in by a dude claiming to be an “advocate” for the feminist movement who turned out to be a fucking pervert, and that I’m now questioning the motives of every self-proclaimed male feminist in the world. This villainous motherfucker used one of the things I hold most dear in the world as a cover, as a tool, as a way to connive his way into women’s lives and as a way to wield power over vulnerable women. He used the name of a movement designed to free women from the abuses men perpetrate against us to control and manipulate women, and to deflect suspicion from himself because he’s a motherfucking miscreant who hurts women and uses images of women and children being hurt for sexual enjoyment. He used a position of authority to abuse a helpless woman, all while claiming to be a fucking advocate for purportedly helpless women. FUCK Kyle Payne and the horse he rode in on.

Why do men need to be directly involved in feminist activism? Why do men need to participate in the formulation of feminist theory? Can a man be a “feminist” activist without some kind of hidden selfish agenda? Why do men need to be allowed to call themselves feminists? Why do I need to be forced to trust men’s motives (against my better judgment) when they want to be a part of the movement or fear being accused of exclusionism? Why can’t these motherfuckers let a movement exist without trying to insinuate themselves into a leadership role within it? Where do they get the idea that we need their goddamned advice?

Even the most well-meaning of men who call themselves feminists evince some pretty strange assumptions. Men know we need them to get on board with our cause in order to get anywhere, and they come to our discussions with that in mind. And it always shows. I don’t know how fair it is of me to expect men to completely do away with a lifetime of gender conditioning, but I frankly don’t want to hear men’s opinions on feminism until they’ve confronted or are at least willing to confront their own gender issues, and even then I don’t want to hear their opinions on what feminism’s goals should be. Men can learn from feminists, they can discuss things with us, they can disagree with us, and they can fight with us. What they can’t do is tell us what our movement is about or take a leadership role within it. I know that this is hard for some of these guys to deal with, but it’s a fact: we don’t need male leadership or guidance. Know what else we don’t need? Your fucking advocacy. An advocate speaks on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves. I can speak for myself, and I can do so with much more accuracy and style than Kyle Payne or any other dude.

Here’s what all this means: I’m not praising or associating with men who presume to call themselves feminists anymore, and I’m going to be looking at men who come to this site with a bit more jaundice in my eye. You can be down with my cause, you can think sexism sucks, you can do your part to combat it, but you can’t be a feminist. You don’t get to take on my movement’s label or represent me. Quit being such a presumptuous pud, shut your fucking mouth, and learn something, then go tell other men what you’ve learned. Argue with me if you want to, but only if you’re willing to consider the possibility that you might be wrong. If you aren’t, I’ll concede, but if you are, be ready to admit it or go fuck yourself. If you want to write a “feminist” blog, write one about how you are taking concrete measures to confront sexism in your daily life, write one about what you’ve learned from feminists, but don’t write one telling me what feminism is about, because you don’t know. If you want to do something to help out the cause, examine your own assumptions, think about what society has taught you about gender and about women, and change what you think needs changing, then be an example to other men. Treat women like human beings and tell other men they should, too. You can be a force for good, but you can’t be in charge, and you aren’t getting hired as a consultant. We don’t need your bullshit advice. Take it or leave it.

I suggest that Kyle Payne ought to get the fuck off the internet. He claims he cares about women, about the feminist movement, and about rape victims. That his blog continues to exist is an affront to all three. He ought to have the decency to disappear. If you want to tell him so, I got your back. I already did.

* See a few other takes on the case from Pisaquaririse, belledame, and Renegade Evolution.

** If you are on his blogroll and want off, you’ll have to tell him so. It took me four nasty comments to get him to remove me.


Bookmark and Share

Just a thought (clipped from a response I made to a comment on an old post)

9 Jul

The problem these days is that men have (intentionally or otherwise) misinterpreted the meaning of equality. Men think they ought to be considered equally put upon simply because they can come up with an example of a time a man suffered. They, from their loftily oblivious position, don’t have to think very hard about the issue at hand. If they can come up with a single example to show that they, too, have at one time or another been victims, then they are off the hook and don’t need to acknowledge their privilege. They argue that if women want equality, then women have to be willing to give men equal room to whine about what they’ve been made to suffer. They don’t see the big picture, but rather each tiny incident as if it weren’t connected to larger social forces. Hence, you have men complaining about some overblown case of a false rape accusation but unwilling to confront the reality of what it means to be female in a culture in which women’s sexuality is seen as the property of men. Or you see men suing bars that have ladies’ night because it’s not fair to make men (who make more money than women) pay a cover when women don’t have to, taking no account of anything other than the “unfairness” of unequal cover charges. It’s similar to the whole, “If black people can say nigger, why can’t I?” bullshit. It’s utter tomfoolery, but it’s the crux of every MRA argument, this conception of equality that’s completely myopic (at best) and/or dishonest.


Bookmark and Share

Nine Deuce: A Flaming Cunt?

16 Jun

I’m sorry, everyone. I know that this blog is really descending into unexplored depths of self-referentialism (coining words is my new hobby), but I’ve had more free time than I’m used to lately, which has allowed me to have a look around at what people who read this blog and are too craven to comment here post about it elsewhere (hence this post). I know, I know, that’s ill-advised, but I can’t help it. Then, somehow, my recent post on rape laws ended up on Stumbleupon and 4Chan (gee, thanks for the info, Playermatt) and my post on MRAs was discovered by some cabal of MRAs who’ve linked to it and passed both it and the rape law post around to their buddies. The results have been… interesting.

I always hoped that this blog would reach a wide audience, that people who had yet to consider the things I write about would end up being exposed to them and thinking about them. That’s why I try to avoid jargon and try to write things out in simple language. That’s why I cuss a lot and make stupid jokes. I’m hoping doing so will engage the random thoughtful people who happen upon my page and get them to thinking about what I have to say.

But I forgot that, when we’re talking the general public, there is about one thoughtful person per 1000 unreflective jagoffs. There are an awful lot of people who will never, ever consider the fact that the way things are might not be the best we can do. There are also a lot of people who have convinced themselves that their sorrows in life are all the fault of some group of people whose existence and success they see as a threat to their own.

When I started this blog, I planned to patiently respond to every comment I got, to make an attempt to be as much like Jesus as possible without growing a beard. I thought that if I was calm and tolerant enough, I might plant some seeds of reason into the heads of commenters, that I might bring some people closer to, if not into complete agreement with, my point of view. And, I thought, if I couldn’t do that, at least I could use the commenters who displayed a complete lack of reason as entertainment for my other readers (BUTTKICKER 69, we love you).

That all worked pretty well for awhile, that is until a few of my posts ended up on Stumbleupon and started getting serious numbers of hits from the general public. Once that happened, I started getting a lot of comments from women who thought I was “just as bad as men” because they thought I was trying to tell them what to do (wrong). I got a lot of comments from pro-porn dudes who thought I was being unfair in my assessment that men who use porn are allowing their selfishness and sense of entitlement to override their humanity (also wrong). I got a lot of comments from people who thought my connecting Bratz with feminism didn’t make any sense (uber wrong). Most of these comments, although they were pretty stupid, were at least civil. I think they were civil because those posts, though they were pretty harsh in their criticisms of the beauty, porn, and girls’ toy industries, didn’t really propose any significant reductions in anyone’s privileges.

Not so with Deuce’s Law and my post on MRAs. I know that those two posts are inflammatory. I intended them to be. Women tolerate limits on our freedom, threats to our safety and security, and violations of our human rights as a matter of course. One of the determining factors in women’s inability to reach equality is the law, and so I decided, in these two posts, to point out the ways in which law serves men’s interests better than, and even to the detriment of, women’s interests and rights.

The point of the Deuce’s Law post was to illustrate by foil the injustices that women suffer under our current legal system, to point out that the presumption of a default state of consent is just as unfair as the presumption of guilt. I never made the claim that Deuce’s Law would be feasible or even the most desirable alternative (I pointed out in the introduction that cultural attitude changes that would eliminate rape would be ideal, which is my entire goal in writing this blog). It was SATIRE, though I do think that the logic of the entirety of the law is intellectually undeniable if taken as a counterpoint to the current system of laws. (I don’t know that I’d ever really advocate doing away with the presumption of innocence, but I would most certainly advocate the punishments I outlined in the post, especially for repeat offenders.) The point of both posts was to make people aware that the system we now operate under has faults, that it does not serve all citizens equally (as those who created and defend it would have us believe). It is taken for granted that our legal system is the most perfect incarnation of a system of laws that can be hoped for, and that to me seems a little silly. (But not as silly as the idea that our legal system privileges women over men, as the MRAs seem to think.)

Here’s where the point of this post comes in. I have had literally hundreds of people tell me, after reading Deuce’s Law, that I am crazy, stupid, uneducated, retarded, silly, foolish, horrible, a cunt, a bitch, a flaming cunt, a dyke, an ugly cunt, etc. People have told me they hope I get raped, they hope I die, they hope I get breast cancer, and they hope women lose the right to vote. I’ve been accused of intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy, sexism, and a little bit o’ fascism.

Instead of thinking about what I’ve said, people have reacted instinctively to what they perceive as a threat to what they consider the natural, correct order of things. There is a reason that our central beliefs are called fundamental, foundational. The belief that our socio-political system is just, right, perfect, and natural is so deeply ingrained in the average psyche that my raising questions about it is met with extreme anger. The idea that someone could question the reasoning behind male supremacy and institutionalized sexism begets disbelief, fear, and rage in those who are unwilling or unable to look beyond their own assumptions. There are untold numbers of men AND WOMEN out there that will NEVER consider the idea that justice might better be served by something other than a patriarchal social structure, that our lives might be more fulfilling if they weren’t dominated by the quest for more stuff, more empty sex, more power, and more attention for climbing a ladder to nowhere that someone else designed.

I wouldn’t much care if these people just dismissed me as a lunatic and went on their merry way. What bothers me is the vitriol, the absolutely blistering hatred that comes through in their responses. The women usually just tell me I’m crazy, but some of the men really let loose. I’ve noticed that the uptick in comments with the word “cunt” in them has coincided with my MRA post being linked to from a few MRA sites and 4Chan.

MRAs make a lot of arguments about the law being unfair to men, about women victimizing men, about the fact that women supposedly commit the same kinds of wrongs they do. They claim that all they’re after is justice. Bullshit. I am here to say, right fucking now, that these guys have shown, through their comments on this blog, that the basis of their beliefs is an extreme hatred of women.

None of the MRAs or 4Chan geeks save one or two has wanted to discuss the law, none of them has wanted to talk about solutions, they’ve just come here to talk shit. Their arguments are nonexistent, their points are unrelated to the issues at hand, and their comments are absolutely saturated with insults and blanket attacks on feminism, feminists, me, etc. They make ludicrous claims about the prevalence of false rape claims, about the criminal activities of women, and about the levels of discrimination they face, and then accuse me of intellectual dishonesty or faulty logic (or of being a cunt).

Saith reader Aaron Boyden:

I theorize that part of the reason MRAs think that men are actually disadvantaged and discriminated against is that they are such incredibly obnoxious twits that even the overwhelming majority of their fellow men can’t stand them. Thus, they do not gain those benefits of male privilege which rely on the sympathy and support of their fellow men, and so don’t realize that those benefits exist.

That’s certainly not the whole story; the typical MRA’s idea of how well he would have to be treated for it to count as “fair” also generally seems to be quite inflated, but most of the men with excessive senses of entitlement are still not MRAs. I think my theory may explain what more is needed beyond an excessive sense of entitlement to produce an MRA.

I couldn’t agree more. These guys have come to think that the world owes them not just a fair shake, but untrammeled success, and they fucking HATE anyone who they see getting in their way. Any inconvenience, any obstacle, any difficulty is a complete travesty in their minds, an affront to their rights as men, and that includes any broad, faggot, or foreigner getting anything they expected to get by sheer dint of their male privilege.

My point in all this is that I’ve had to come to the realization that many bloggers with more experience than me arrived at long ago: there’s no arguing with someone who thinks I’m less of a human being than he is about my right to be treated fairly and with respect. There’s no asking someone who considers women to all be potentially lying whores to concede to me the right to live without the fear of being raped. There’s no hoping someone who makes such free use of the word “cunt” will discuss something with me as an equal.

I might think these dudes are assholes, but I don’t wish them a horrible and painful death. That these guys think telling me they want me to die of breast cancer or that they hope that I get raped is anything but barbaric and obscene says a lot about who they are. They might say it’s barbaric that I would suggest castrating rapists, but I’m not a rapist. I’ve never victimized anyone. All I’m doing is voicing my opinion and putting a few ideas on the table for consideration and discussion. Why do I deserve to be raped and to die of a horrible disease?

That what I have to say upsets these guys enough to provoke such animus tells me that they can’t take what they dish out. They don’t like being treated and spoken about the way they treat and speak about women. They don’t like the thought of having their rights limited the way women’s rights are limited. But most of all it tells me that they have nothing to counter me with, which I suppose means I’ve won in some sense. What a cunt.

I promise, my next post will be on something that has nothing to do with my blog and people’s responses to it. Maybe I’ll write about Howard Stern or something.


Bookmark and Share

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 440 other followers