Archive | The Law RSS feed for this section

War profiteers, unsatisfied with plain old war profiteering, now want to see you naked.

21 May

Dude, have you seen these new Whole Body Imaging™ machines at the airports? I was at the Atlanta airport on my way back to New York last month when I found myself wandering past what looked like an upright tanning bed or that thing the guy in Star Trek stands in before he tells someone named Scotty to beam him up (I’d know what that thing’s called, but I’m not a dork). I don’t really know what I thought it was, maybe some kind of bomb material detector or something, but holy shit am I glad I didn’t get sent through it. Unbeknownst to me — and probably to the guy ahead of me who did get sent through it — it’s the 2009 version of those X-ray glasses they used to sell to pervert 12-year-olds in the back of Mad.

What these newfangled contraptions do, apparently, is offer the TSA agent a naked image of the person standing inside the unit. Peep this one:
airport_xray_scanner-thumb

That’s a pretty clear picture, isn’t it? I can see this woman’s privates, man! I don’t know about you, but I’m not all that stoked about the idea of some random TSA jackass seeing me naked, even if the photo does look less like me than it does an image that belongs in a Tool video.

Needless to say, I’ve found a few problems with this device.

  1. I’ve yet to see an article or news feature about these new machines that explains to me what they’re going to find that a regular metal detector couldn’t. In the photo above, all I see is a gun and a cell phone or some shit. A metal detector would pick both up. They claim that this device allows the TSA to see everything one has on one’s person, including items as small and thin as a receipt. Uh, OK. I wasn’t aware that paper was illegal. I suppose these machines might make it possible for us to keep our money clips, cell phones, beepers (I really want a beeper), pens, coins, burritos, etc. in our pockets, but I haven’t heard any mention of anything like that. As it stands, we’ll still have to empty our pockets and send all our shit through the regular X-ray unit, and then walk through this new machine, which will alert the TSA to the fact that we forgot to leave our Glocks at home, Glocks that a regular metal detector would pick up. (I saw that stupid Clint Eastwood movie, too, but is anyone really rolling through airport security with a custom-made wooden gun? And if so, where the fuck are they keeping the metal bullets?) And another thing. How is this thing going to speed the line up? As of now, we’ve got the choice to either stand in this fucker for like a minute while it X-rays us and transmits the photo to the TSA dude, or to go through a frisk. It takes way longer than the metal detector either way. The whole thing is stupid. I think I smell a few Homeland Security officials with ties to L-3 Communications.
  2. Last time I checked, you needed to establish reasonable suspicion before strip searching someone. Am I to understand that, because I want to get on an airplane, the TSA thinks it’s reasonable to suspect that I plan to kill someone? I already put up with having strangers see everything in my luggage, going through a metal detector, having my shit searched, removing my shoes and walking around barefoot where a bunch of suits with athlete’s foot have just been standing barefoot, and all types of other annoying shit. That’s about enough. If the TSA can’t figure out whether I’ve got a gun or a knife without strip searching me, then maybe the TSA’s too stupid to trust with our security. Oh yeah.
  3. This shit can’t be good for your health. They claim it’s got 1/10,000 of the radiation of a cell phone (not that I think a cell phone isn’t bad for one’s health), but I’m sure that’s bullshit. I mean, really, where does the burden of proof lie here? Not with me. I say it’s bad for you until these motherfuckers prove otherwise. See you in 50 years.
  4. Is the TSA really asking me to believe that the cretins who work for them won’t use these new machines to get a peek at the… uh… “areas my bathing suit covers”? Sure, there’s one guy who decides who goes through the machine and another guy who looks at the screen, but the idea that they’d make an agreement to send the chicks with big boobs through isn’t exactly beyond the realm of the things I can imagine (remember, I invented unicorns). And I never even thought of this, but the Esquire mentioned LAX and the number of celebrities that roll through there in the average month. As if some $9-an-hour TSA agent with a camera phone couldn’t snap off a naked shot of a celebrity and sell it (or a shot of anyone else, for that matter, for personal use or whatever). Not that I give a shit about the plight of our poor celebrities or anything, but still. Privacy and shit.
  5. This device has greater negative effects for women than for men, which would really be a big deal if there was an Equal Rights Amendment (but it’s cool for now since we still don’t qualify as human and thus don’t warrant equal rights or protection). There is a greater risk that this machine will result in an invasion of privacy for women, and that the images that result will be misused (not that there is a proper use for them). Sorry, dude, but if you want to create a culture in which our bodies are seen as nothing but sex objects, then you don’t get to claim there’s no pervy intent when you sneakily try to look at us naked.

This shit ain’t cool, dude. We’re already living in a situation in which we’ve got to accept being filmed, having our photos taken, and being listened in on constantly, but I’m not ready to let strangers see me naked every time I fly for basically no reason other than to make a profit for some corporate war crimial.

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

Republicans are the new feminists. Either that or they’re pro-rape and anti-family.

5 Sep

I’m bringing the banner back because the Anti-Woman Threat Level has been elevated to fuchsia.

I watched part of the RNC last night. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be doing that lest I risk putting myself into a coma, but I can’t help it. (Have you ever seen anything more boring than this convention? I’ve seen people party harder on the Lawrence Welk Show.) I couldn’t help it. I turned it on and was just caught in the headlights by seeing my city’s old mayor pretend to be a dumb hick in order to pander to the willfully ignorant provincialism of a room full of Tim McGraw fans who believe poor people are poor because they’re evil, dinosaur bones were planted by the devil to test their faith, and liberals’ real goals consist of sacrificing late-term fetuses to the Indigo Girls and turning all of our little boys into Eddie Izzard. He did so by jocularly implying that Obama’s an urban chauvinist/elitist for mentioning the fact that Sara Palin hasn’t run a city big enough to have bus service nor a state with more people in it than any city with more than one Hooters. (Rudy’s just so small town, so main street.) He then tisk-tisked Democrats for asking whether Palin can handle being a mom to so many kids while holding high office, acting fucking outraged that they would ask such a question of a woman when they wouldn’t ask it of a man. You know, because they’re such feminists over in the GOP.

I know the Democrats have been blowing it lately when it comes to women’s issues (hey, Obama, thanks for selling out half the population in a stupid attempt to court the seven or so religious zealots that were already going to vote for you out of spite because McCain refuses to acknowledge that the apocalypse is scheduled for next month), but watching Republicans talk about women’s rights nearly had me in convulsions. The dissimulations and misrepresentations I saw in fifteen minutes of watching the RNC were so obscene, so obvious, and so stupid that I squirted ginger ale out of my nose like five times. Hearing these ass clowns pretend to give a shit about women’s issues, pretend they’re the party of resisting the status quo, pretend they care about anything but giving rich people more money, starting some more wars with brown people with oil, taking rights away from women and people with the temerity to not be rich, and forcing people to adhere to their backward bullshit religious ideology is offensive to the max.

Or perhaps it’s illuminating. 

It’s illuminating because I’ve seen the essence of Republican strategy in action: smart, sophisticated rich guys pretending to be dumb philistines in order to trick people who really are dumb philistines into thinking their best interests lie in voting in support of smart rich guys’ financial interests. It’s really kind of amazing if you think about it. I mean, these guys have to say insane shit in public that they absolutely know is stupid and wrong, and they have to act like they mean it. But they have to make sure not to go too far with their ridiculous rhetoric lest they tip the public off to the fact that they think their entire base has the IQ of Fred Durst. It’s a fine line, and I’m kind of impressed with how they’ve managed to stand astride it for so long. 

So they get to come out and pretend, because they’ve nominated an anti-woman psycho who happens to have a vagina (maybe — I’m still not convinced she isn’t a cyborg created by Sean Hannity and Phyllis Schlafly or a transvestite MRA), that they’re the party of women’s rights and gender progress. They can claim that they’re the feminists and the Democrats are the misogynists (not that a lot of them aren’t), and do so with straight faces. McCain and whatever doctor of tomfoolery runs his campaign also think that they’re going to nab the mythological bloc of disaffected Clinton supporters who are disgruntled at Obama’s nomination, simply because they’ve nominated a woman (a woman who thinks being called a pit bull with lipstick is a compliment and that women ought to be forced to rent their uteri out as life support equipment free of charge). I don’t believe that a huge group of people that love Clinton more than their own human rights exists, but I do, unfortunately, think there are plenty of (Republican) women that are stupid enough to pick up what the GOP is laying down and decide Sara Palin is a step forward for womankind.

What can I say? The GOP might just have the public pegged. In any case, the Republicans have devised some pretty impressive framing if you ask me. 

Maybe the leadership of the party of homophobes with wide stances and women who wish women weren’t allowed to vote gets something I don’t. Maybe I’m presenting arguments that are just too honest, complex, and thoughtful. Maybe what I need to do in order to hasten the gender revolution is repackage it as something other than what it really is in blisteringly stupid terms. I’ll give it a shot, I guess, and try it out on the voting public who are considering whether they ought to vote for John “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran… did I mention that I was a POW?” McCain and his kapo out of their “love” for womankind. The following will be my attempt at “framing,” GOP style, the debate over whether Palin’s election would be a step forward for women: 

Here’s why I’m opposed to Sara Palin: she may be a woman, but she ain’t no feminist, and I doubt whether she’s even got America’s interests at heart. In fact, I doubt whether she’s even an American. Look where she’s from. I know Alaska’s a state, but it’s basically in Canada, and there’s nothing in Canada but socialists, hockey players, and people who don’t know how to pronounce the word “about.” That ain’t American no how. But it may be even worse than that. Alaska is just a hop, skip, and a few little islands away from Russia. I’m not sure this woman isn’t a foreign agent, and if she happens to turn out to be one, let’s hope she’s “just” a Canadian and not a Russki. 

You may be wondering why I suspect Palin of working for a foreign government. I’ll tell you why: she’s already publicly admitted to being anti-American. I hate to quote myself (I, like Bill O’Reilly, am a paragon of modesty), but let us remember: 

As of now, our Supreme Court (however tenuous the status of this decision may be) holds that a woman has the right to decide how she wants to utilize her uterus… The Supreme Court is an American institution and has been one for much longer than apple pie, NASCAR, or fake German beers, ergo, anyone who disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision is anti-American.

Palin has brazenly proclaimed that she’s anti-American, and has even admitted to sympathizing with terrorists who would attack us and take away our freedoms. She is vehemently opposed to American women’s freedom and right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and would, if elected, force us to use our organs to provide life support against our will.

And she’s radical about it (what’s scarier than a radical, folks?). She has stated publicly that she opposes our right to determine our own destiny even in the case of rape. You know what that means? That’s right. Sara Palin is pro-rape. She’d rather force you to give birth to the spawn of a rapist than allow you, after you’ve already had your human rights and personal sovereignty violated, to decide not to suffer further physical and emotional torment as a result of the crime. Palin claims she’s pro-family, but how can we trust someone’s claims to being pro-family when she has also publicly proclaimed that she’d even force her own daughter to carry a fetus that resulted from a rape? Palin is in favor of taking rights away from rape victims and giving more power to rapists to hurt us, and she’s ready to put the might of the state behind the rapists rather than innocent women, including her own daughters. That is downright treasonous — not to mention anti-family — if you ask me. 

I think it’s clear what the right choice is here. Sara Palin is a pro-rape, anti-family, anti-American radical, and she might very well be a foreign agent. She’s clearly not qualified to lead on behalf of the majority of freedom-loving, anti-rape, patriotic Americans, and neither is the man who is so incompetent as to be fooled into choosing an anti-American foreigner as his running mate for our nation’s highest office.

Hey, they started it.

(I guess watching this bullshit wasn’t a total loss. I found out about Cowboy Troy, who the GOP hired to participate in the most embarrassing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner I’ve ever seen, but who nonetheless might be the most awesome person alive. Plus, I learned some things about how to package the iss-yous for the troglodytes we call “average Americans.” George Lakoff would be proud.)

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

India, land of bride burnings, has more progressive rape laws than we do. Surprise!

16 Jul

Apparently, the Indian Supreme Court has decided that a victim’s testimony is sufficient to convict a rapist and that no further corroboration should be required. From now on Indian women who have been raped will (supposedly) not have to prove that they broke a constant legal state of consent when they go to court. The Indian Supreme Court, you see, has decided that the trauma involved in going through the investigation and trial will most likely weed out any false accusations. There must not be any MRAs in India. From the article:

“She would be conscious of the danger of being ostracised by society and when in the face of these factors the crime is brought to light, there is an inbuilt assurance that the charge is genuine rather than fabricated,” the bench said.

It also said that the deposition of a rape victim must enjoy the same level of court’s confidence that the testimony of an injured person enjoys about the physical assault.

The bench held that even if a court is not able to believe the deposition of a rape victim, it should at best seek some evidence to assure itself of the deposition, instead of seeking independent corroboration.

You hear that? In India they afford rape victims’ testimony the same weight they give to that of assault victims. What a revolutionary idea.

I know India is a vastly different country than the US, and I know that there are serious social and financial consequences attached to admitting (Hear that? ADMITTING!) to having been raped, since doing so means admitting one is not a virgin (that such a thing is a concern is a problem in and of itself), but I find the legal reasoning behind this decision to be of interest considering the fact that in our own legal system 6% or less of rapes end with the rapist receiving any punishment.

I suppose I’ll start calling India a feminist utopia when we no longer hear of bride burnings, sati, dowries, and the fact that women are ostracized for having “lost their virginity” by being raped, but, on a few fronts, they’re still making us look bad.


Bookmark and Share

Calculating risk: Should we avoid men?

5 Jul

Allecto has a post up that has gotten me to thinking. I used to watch To Catch A Predator with a friend, and we often speculated about the general male population and what percentage of them might be the kinds of guys we saw on the show. We came up with a 25-10-5 percent scheme, in which we surmised that 25% of men, if they were presented with the opportunity and were reasonably sure they wouldn’t get caught, would have sex with an adolescent girl, that 10% of men were one life crisis away from getting on the internet to seek out an adolescent girl to have sex with, and that 5% of men are currently on the internet seeking such. Real scientists, I know. We then went to Central Park and watched men walk by, trying to decide if they were 25, 10, or 5 percenters (not capital F, capital P Five Percenters). I admit that the whole thing was more about our own warped idea of humor than anything else, but I’ve started giving it more serious thought recently.

I’m generally not afraid of dudes, but I’m a 30-year-old woman at this point and I have yet to be mugged (I’m sure I’m up soon). That might be because I try to avoid getting into situations in which men can harm me, meaning I don’t hang out alone with dudes I don’t know very well. But I can think of about a zillion examples of times when dudes’ behavior has frightened me, whether harm came of it or not, and I’m generally more likely to feel threatened by men’s weird behavior than women’s.

I can already predict that there will be men who take offense to my bringing this subject up, but I’m going to have to ask them to calm down and think about what I’m saying, which is not that all men are dangerous, just that men are statistically more likely to be than women, especially toward women. I’m not arguing for any specific course of action, or for anything really, but rather exploring the idea of how we can know just how many men are dangerous, how we can figure out how to avoid the danger that some men pose, and what kinds of precautions are necessary and/or reasonable to take.

I know I often say that women shouldn’t have to alter our behavior to avoid being hurt by men, but I’m aware enough of how things work to know that, for now at least, that’s wishful thinking. Until the whole world listens to me and we raise an entire generation of people who treat each other like human beings, thus creating ourselves a little Nine Deuce-topia, I’d like to come up with a risk assessment and minimization plan.

What percentage of men are dangerous? Could it really be as high as 25%? More? How do we formulate such a statistic? We’d first have to figure out what “dangerous” means. I’d say it ought to include sexual predators of all stripes (and that includes men who coerce sex), domestic abusers, and men who are generally violent and abusive. How do we figure out, then, how many men have one or more of these tendencies? The only way I can think of to even attempt to get at such a figure would be through crime statistics, which would give us a very low figure that wouldn’t take into account all of the unpunished abuses that occur. We could use whatever logarithm government agencies use to figure out how many more crimes take place than are reported, but I still think that’d leave us with a lowball because a lot of abusive behavior exists in the “gray area” that the law can’t (or — more accurately — won’t) deal with (verbal abuse, sexual assaults that don’t leave evidence, etc.). Of course, not all men who pose a risk will abuse in all circumstances, so I guess we’d also have to figure out what kinds of men are dangerous in what kinds of situations.

I’ve gotten a lot of grief lately from people who think my rape law suggestions make the assumption that all men are rapists, but I’ve never made such a claim. I know not all men are rapists because I happen to know at least 5 that I hang out with regularly that have never raped anyone. I DON’T HATE MEN. I think most men are assholes (fuck, I think most women are assholes), but I don’t hate all of them. I honestly don’t really hate anybody (except maybe Diablo Cody and Chris Martin). This isn’t a discussion of whether men are evil, it’s a discussion of mathematical probabilities.  Just based on my own life experiences, I’d say that at least 1/4 of dudes (out of the probably thousands I’ve met) have had the potential to be threatening and/or aggressive enough to be considered abusive. Not good odds.

Could a quarter or more of men pose a potential risk to vulnerable women and children? If so, is it really all that unreasonable to avoid strange men or to avoid leaving children alone with men? Everyone has probably heard about airlines instituting policies in which single men will not be seated next to unaccompanied minors on planes. Is that unfair? I suppose if I were a dude who wasn’t dangerous it might bother me, might make me feel like I was being looked askance at. It might make me feel like I was being accused of something I didn’t do. It might feel like I was… a black guy or something. But is that really more important than women and childrens’ safety?

Like I said, I’m just sort of wondering aloud how we’d ever be able to calculate what kind of risk exists and figure out how to protect ourselves. Does someone with a more scientific education than I’ve got have any ideas?


Bookmark and Share

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 500 other followers